CdM organizes a workshop about violent extremism during the World Forum on Urban Violence

‘Local Responses to Violent Extremism and Radicalization’ is the name of this workshop, focused on finding local responses to create counter-narratives and alternative messages to prevent violent extremism. The workshop, in English, will take place in room 6 of La Nave (Cifuentes 5), on Friday 21st at 9am. It will bring together politicians, representatives of the European Council, experts and civil society such as Zlatko Lagumdzija, former PM of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Club de Madrid Member; Jihen Ayed, president of Tun’Act; Juan Cristelleys, from the European Forum for Urban Security; Mr. Leendert verbeek, from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the European Council. 

Incidents and actions motivated by radicalization and violent extremism are increasing in both number and intensity in many cities and communities around the world. Even though this is a transnational phenomenon, responses must come from all levels of governance. Because of this, the workshop will focus on local entities and how they can help in preventing violent extremism by building new messages and new narratives, more efficient and positive than the actual ones. 

Counter-narratives are stories, stories that seek to erode the legitimacy of violent narratives. There is some consensus among experts about the need to focus on the local level if one is to design effective alternative narratives capable of coping with extremist messages. Young people, community leaders, local imams, teachers, families and local media have all been recognized as the best and most reliable options for communicating these messages. 

Both local authorities and communities are critical in preventing terrorism and indiscriminate violence. Civil society holds a unique position to bridge the gap between local realities and global policies, including measures to prevent violent extremism. Thus, actions and programs should be organized at the local level so that civil society can mobilize to meet this challenge.

Exclusion, sectarian division, and discrimination. History and research show that societies are more likely to be peaceful and prosperous when their citizens recognize and celebrate diversity and actively promote an inclusive and cohesive society where those who are different feel secure. This is one of the principles of the Club de Madrid Shared Societies Project.

This dialogue session will be the continuation of the work that the Club de Madrid has carried out with its violent-extremism prevention project stream. In 2005, the Club de Madrid organized the International Conference on Democracy, Terrorism and Security which took place in Madrid. It brought together more than 1000 political leaders and civil society actors to analyze the causes of terrorism. As a result of this meeting, the Madrid Agenda was produced; a document which had a profound impact on the global debate and gave rise to a new consensus that counters the idea that the political and social divisions that produce and justify terrorism can be solved only by military means. Since then, the Club de Madrid seeks to promote debate on how to build a strategy to counter the narrative of extremist and violent groups, through its project “Preventing Violent Extremism: Leaders Telling a Different Story”, which aims to improve national and regional responses to violent extremism threats by creating more effective counter-narratives that can successfully serve to challenges violent extremist messaging and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable groups. The recommendations will be based on evidence-based analysis of focus groups in 3 countries that are particularly exposed to this violence: Nigeria, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Media who want to attend the workshop should send an email to

-Luis Pérez: +34 607 694 354 // + 34 91 154 82 38 Responsable de comunicación

-Ana Pastor: +34 722 484 282 // +34 91 154 82 36 Asistente de comunicación