Countering youth radicalization in Tunisia through inclusion
Among the most challenging issues Tunisia is facing are massive youth unemployment; marginalization/exclusion from public participation by youth; distrust in political processes; and youth engagement in radicalization and the rehabilitation and reintegration of returnee Jihadists. The state and civil society organizations have developed policies and programs to overcome these mutually reinforcing challenges. However, review of these policies and programs has shown that they are not based on strong evidence. In addition, attempts to address youth involvement in radicalization so far have not engaged with youth, hence missing the opportunity to understand the root causes of their involvement in radicalization.
The aim of this project is to develop innovative approaches for radicalization prevention and de-radicalization initiatives by analyzing the relationship between exclusion and female and male youth’s susceptibility to extremism. Under the leadership of the Maghreb Economic Forum, a team of multidisciplinary researchers seeks to address these interlinking challenges. Researchers will use a case study approach and mixed methods to investigate the social, political, and cultural exclusion of Tunisian youth, as well as the drivers for their engagement in violent radicalization and extremism.
The project will focus on disadvantaged urban and rural areas of Douar Hicher, Ben Gardane, Kairouan, and Kasserine in Tunisia. Researchers will examine and analyze the different ways in which societal power relations between and among women, men, girls and boys are shaping or being affected by the spread of extremist ideologies. The project will also collect, test, and assess counter-Jihadism programs developed in the Maghreb region and will examine whether these programs can be adapted into the Tunisian context. The knowledge generated will be used to develop scalable innovative approaches to prevent and reduce the vulnerability of youth to violent radicalization and extremism in Tunisia.