Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) with the support of GAAMAC

Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt)

Insightful Quotes
"How do we prepare for and prevent crises that we cannot yet see?"
Insightful Quotes
"To prevent atrocities, we must educate and prepare children and youth about history, about the present and how fragile peace is."
Virtual Session 6

Countering Hate: Identifying Gaps and Synergies in Prevention Efforts in Europe

Hate speech, discrimination and incitement often precede the commission of mass atrocities. Amplified by technology and the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of hate in Europe is a reminder that despite its history, the region is not immune. Many prevention initiatives from civil society and states address the root causes of manifestations of violence. Despite European countries facing similar challenges, there are significant gaps in mutual awareness and interconnectedness across these efforts.

Main Questions
  • What are some of the root causes of hate and identity based violence in your context?

  • What are some effective preventive mechanisms or strategies that have been/can be developed at the national level to prevent hate from escalating to violence and how can we strengthen our impact as actors of prevention?

  • What is needed to prioritize long- term prevention on European and regional level?

Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas

  • Prevention is a permanent endeavour and no country is immune.

  • Understanding root causes helps us devise strategies for prevention.

  • Seemingly unconnected forms of violence often share similar causes.

  • It is our collective responsibility to prevent atrocities.

  • Education and youth awareness are key to prevent hate and we need multiperspective history teaching.

  • Learning to read the past to understand the present and devise actions for the future is an important task for schools.

  • The power of networking and the use of synergies are central.

  • We need to better equip societies by developing national mechanisms.

  • How do we engage with those who express hate?

  • Main priorities to ensure long-term prevention: civic education, sustainable democratic institutions, defining who to include, support for local organizations, community-building


Kate Ferguson
Protection Approaches, United Kingdom
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Martine Brunschwig Graf
Federal Commission against Racism, Switzerland
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Velma Šarić
Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC), Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Mô Bleeker
Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland
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Current Topics

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The FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum is a series of events on current and overarching challenges and trends in peacebuilding. With the Peacebuilding Forum, we want to provide future-oriented impulses for the development of peacebuilding and strengthen the visibility and importance of the policy field in its entirety.


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