May 24, 2018

Nordic Lunch - Preventing radicalisation

During our "Nordic Lunch" experts and clients from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany discussed how schools can help to prevent children and young people from developing radical mindset and behaviour.

Ramboll regularly welcomes ministries, foundations and other stakeholders to our event series "Nordic Lunch – Scandinavian Experiences" in our German offices. On May 24th we invited clients and colleagues to discuss the following questions: How can education practitioners be prepared for their role in prevention? And which practices have proven successful in the Nordics?

Promoting history awareness

When it comes to fighting racism and intolerance on an early stage education is the key. Especially schools play an important role and should not only integrate tolerance, democracy and human rights in their schedule, but also promote critical thinking. Camilla Sjostrom from "The Living History Forum", a Swedish state agency, explains how this can be done: "We want students to increase their knowledge about racism and intolerance in history in order to better see and understand today. That's why we've developed a digital tool which uses case based true stories from Swedish history."

Preventive approaches in Denmark

Christine Lunde Rasmussen, Manager at Ramboll Management Consulting in Denmark, gave a quick introduction on the Danish concept of prevention: "When we talk about radicalisation we mean a process whereby an individual adopts extremist views. This pathway to extremism is shaped by society group level as well as individual risk factors."

Therefore, preventive approaches must not only address individuals directly but also the individuals' surroundings and pedagogical staff. With their programs the Danish Education Agency is training teachers to address students with different methods. "Our approach is to build safe spaces for young people, so they can discuss controversial issues. We train the teachers to be able to handle these difficult discussions," explained Dorthe Anthony from the Danish Education Agency.

Exchanging insights

Animated by the two insights from Sweden and Denmark other participants shared their experiences with similar projects and initiatives as well. Maria Blöcher from Kiron Open Higher Education said: "For us as a new and small organization it is important to get new input from others. It was great to learn how things are done in the Nordics."