University Students Unite to #ChallengeExtremism
On June 4, the State Department will host the finalists for the “P2P [Peer to Peer]: Challenging Extremism” initiative. Over the past several months, university students from around the world have been designing, piloting, and testing new digital products and tools to energize and engage networks of youth to counter the social media presence and effectiveness of violent extremist messaging online.
The final presentations and judging will take place at the State Department. The following universities will present their work:
- Curtin University in Perth, Australia: Students developed a mobile application called “52Jumaa” that sends daily positive challenges and affirmations from the Qur'an;
- Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Students built platforms and programs called “We Are Not Them (WANT) Movement” that contains credible resources about Islam to spur a dialogue;
- Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri: Students established a program called “One95” to collaborate and learn from others across cultures to unite voices to rise above violent extremism.
The three university finalists were chosen from 23 schools in Australia, Canada, Germany, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Singapore, and the United States who participated in the semester-long program for academic credit. The State Department, with the support of agencies across the U.S. government and the firm EdVenture Partners, started the challenge to engage civil society with the understanding that violent extremism is a global threat neither constrained by international borders nor limited to any single ideology. Governments and communities must work together.
The international finalists from Australia and Canada are in the United States as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Following their time in Washington, D.C., these students will travel to the Minneapolis and San Francisco/Silicon Valley areas to meet with Americans and explore strategies for building upon their digital media platforms.
Event-related social media will use the hashtag #ChallengeExtremism. While the final judging event is closed to the media, the finalists are available for media interviews upon request. Please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.