Perspectives on Resilience in the Context of Violent Extremism


14 November 2019



The international community has been concerned with the question of how to prevent violent extremism for some time. Although the term resilience is a key objective and an organising principle around which much prevention work is centred, the term itself is contested. “Resilience” is used in a variety of different contexts from psychology to humanitarian responses and from early childhood development to climate change.    

It can also be as an objective for change programmes at every level of society. For example, it is used as an organising principle for changes at the individual, community, institutional and societal level. In addition, there are several definitional threads in relation to resilience: from a narrow focus on mere ability to “survive” or “cope” to a more expansive focus on the ability to both “survive” and “thrive” – to “recover, keep going and grow through adversity”.  

This conference will draw together a combination of practitioners and academics who already use the resilience approach in their work preventing violent extremism. Through a series of panel discussions participants will be invited to exchange on the various ways and levels at which they use resilience and determine whether these levels operate independently or in connection to one another. Further to discussing the basic concept and its underpinnings, the conference will also reflect how a ‘resilience approach’ has informed their programming, its sustainability and its challenge, how it has been measured, and how a resilience approach could benefit future programmes. 


08:45-09.15: Registration and tea

09.15-09.30: Welcome Session

  • Welcome by Thomas Renard, Senior Research Fellow, Egmont Institute Egmont Institute
  • Introduction and objectives to the conference by Sheelagh Stewart, Lead Conflict, Security and Stability Adviser, British Council

09.30-10.15: Opening Session

  • Hilde Hardeman: Director – Head of Service, European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
  • Olivier Luyckx: Head of B5 Unit, European Commission DG DEVCO
  • Dr Christiane Hoehn: Principle Advisor to the EU’s Counter Terrorism Coordinator

10.15-11.05: Panel Discussion – Framing and Measuring Resilience

  • Dr Jill Flint Taylor, Executive Director, Rusando Ltd
  • Dr Phillip Jefferies, Research Fellow, Resilience Research Centre

This session will explore questions such as: how is resilience defined? Resilience to what? i.e. What is the relationship between resilience and violent extremism and/or violent movements? How do you measure resilience? How do we sustain resilience?

11.05 -11.20: Tea break

11.20-12.10: Panel Discussion – Approaches that address VE risks and foster resilience

  • Emily Winterbotham, Director, Terrorism and Conflict and Senior Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
  • Dr Ken Reidy, Fellow at German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS): Perspectives on inadvertent fostering of resilience

12.10-13.00: Panel Discussion – Resilience as an organizing concept for funding and evaluation

  • Michael Schroll, Head of Performance and Impact, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF)
  • Ruth Simpson, Senior Lead on Development, Impact and Learning, International Alert

13.00-14.00: Lunch

14.00-15.00: Panel Discussion – Insights from Implementing a Resilience Approach

Speakers will explain how the concept of resilience has informed their programming and will discuss measurement, sustainability and challenges.

  • Charline Burton, Executive Director, Search for Common Ground Europe
  • Karin Göldner-Ebenthal, Research Fellow, Berghof Foundation
  • Michael Bush, Programme Lead, Strengthening Resilience MENA II, British Council
  • Eric Francois, Project Coordinator, Transitional Aid Department, GIZ

15.00-15.15: Tea break

15.15-16.15: Group Activity: Lessons Learned – how can a resilience approach benefit future programme?

Dr Jill Flint Taylor will facilitate a working session that will look at what needs to happen to make most use of the resilience framework and guiding point on how to make the approach work for different types of programmes.

16.15-16.30: Conference Closure

Sheelagh Stewart, the British Council’s Lead Conflict, Security and Stability Adviser, will offer last words and a summary of the day.

The event’s discussion will take place under the Chatham House Rule.

This conference is organised in the framework of the Strengthening Resilience in MENA project funded by the European Commission, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)