The prevention of right-wing extremism, group-focused hatred (“enmity”), religiously appearing and other sorts of violent extremism has a European and global dimension which can hardly be overestimated. For one the followers of such movements/ organisations – and in particular of right-wing extremism – are very well connected internationally, both on personal and economic levels. Moreover, the field practitioners and mentors who work in prevention, distancing and exit facilitation in the different countries, face quite similar methodological and political challenges – and may thus support each other very well. It has always been a quite impressive experience how much the colleagues valued any European practice exchange. This was due to the richness of methods, approaches and context variations which came up in the colleagues’ dialog. But also the absence of national competition, territoriality, and animosity – as well as the break from rather isolated working conditions as well as from the political tensions under which the colleagues sometimes have to work, is highly welcomed and cherished by them and has a positive impact on them.
Cultures Interactive (CI) has been engaging since many years in various international initiatives and networks of preventing violent extremism and group-focused hatred – and has provided consultancy for governments and governmental organizations. CI‘s Harald Weilnböck (HW) has been active in the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) since early preparation stages, co-chaired the RAN Derad working group and at the same time built up the European Network of Deradicalisation. A prior project in Northern Ireland has preceded these activities. CI‘s Silke Baer has been cooperating with the OSCE since many years.
From early on HW/ CI have helped a number of German NGOs to become connected to these EU networks. Today CI is cooperating regularly with RAN, OSCE, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF), the European Network of Terorism Experts (EENeT), the US State Department, inter alia. Projects from DG Home, DG Research and other EU agencies have made these voluntary activities possible. In its international work CI has currently developed an emphasis on cooperating with Eastern European partners to prevent right-wing extremism and group hatred in Eastern member states – an issue which seems to have sunk into the background in the EU’s recent counter violent extremism initiatives.