Udes hosts world's first UNESCO research chair to fight radicalization
Quebec has become home to the world’s first UNESCO Chair on the Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism (UNESCO-PREV) Chair, inaugurated Friday at the Université de Sherbrooke. The Chair was formed in partnership with UQAM and Concordia University as well as the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
The primary mission of the Chair is to act as a centre of excellence to develop, share and promote primary, secondary and tertiary prevention research and activities on radicalization and violent extremism. With close to 40 partners in Canada and abroad, the Chair will ensure close cooperation between researchers and communities of practice from a comparative, multidisciplinary and international perspective. The research centre is directed by three recognized experts in the field: Prof. David Morin from U de S, Prof. Ghayda Hassan from UQAM, and Prof. Vivek Venkatesh from Concordia. Prof. Sami Aoun, from l’université de Sherbrooke, is the scientific director of the Chair, which will be based at U de S.
During the inauguration, attendees heard Jhon Carvajal give enlightening testimony on the need for the new Chair. Carvajal and his family fled their wartorn country of Colombia in 2005 and is one of many who have been affected by radicalization and violent extremism. As a teenage refugee, he experienced a challenging first few years in Quebec. He said he could easily have isolated himself and gone down a wrong path, but chose a different course. Instead, he got involved with Dialogue +, a youth-driven project that offers a multitude of activities aimed at preventing discrimination in the face of prejudice and radicalization.
“Dialogue + is an example of concrete preventive action,” says Dialogue + copresident Morin,. “It dovetails perfectly with one of the components of the new UNESCO-PREV Chair, which we are launching today.” Morin was actively involved in creating the Chair and is now a co-chairh older alongside with UQAM’S Hassan, the director of CPN-PREV (the Canadian Practitioner Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremist Violence) and a clinical psychologist; and Vivek Venkatesh, a professor at Concordia, the creator of SOMEONE (Social Media Education Every Day) Project, and the director of the university’s Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance.
“The creation of this chair is fully aligned with the priorities that the Quebec government set out in its action plan to combat radicalization. I am convinced that this research will contribute to our security, to the sharing of our values, and to the development of our society,” said Christine St-pierre, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie.
Sébastien Goupil, Secretary General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO added, “We are proud to host the network of this new Chair, with its unique governance model uniting three major universities—a first in Canada and in the world. We look forward to working with the Chair to counter the rise of radicalization and violent extremism in Canada and the world,” Dignitaries gather at the inauguration of the new UNESCO research Chair at U D S Friday. From left to right, U de S Rector Prof. Pierre Cossette, Prof. Ghayda Hassan, Prof. Sami Aoun, Prof David Morin, Maria Mourani, Representative of the Government of Quebec on the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO, Luc Fortin, Quebec Minister of the Family and Minister for the Estrie Region, Christine St-pierre, Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Marie-claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Comptonstanstead and Minister of International Development and Francophonie,. Jhon Carvajal, UNESCO Youth Ambassador, Prof. Vivek Venkatesh, UQAM Rector Magda Fusaro, and. Sébastien Goupil, Secretary General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.