Recently, a Workshop on the Role of Youth against Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Western Balkans was organized by the Atlantic Council of Montenegro, with the support of the Embassy of Canada, in Podgorica, Montenegro from 19-21 November 2018.

During the 2 day event, over 30 young people from across the Western Balkans interacted with reputable speakers and experts about extremist radicalization and the foreign fighter phenomenon among the youth in the Western Balkans. This is a specific topic that concerns not only regional, but international security as well.

Some of the esteemed speakers that we were privileged to host, such as Former Islamic extremist Adam Deen, Professor Vlado Azinović, Director of the Police Administration of Montenegro Veselin Veljović, Archpriest-Stavrophor Boris Brajović, Jessie Hronesova from Aktis Strategy and Džemo Redžematović from the Islamic Community of Montenegro, helped the young participants grasp a more thorough understanding of the field. Some of the most prevalent discussions were oriented around what drives young people to join terrorist organizations, what makes young people get involved in foreign battlefields, what is the influence of social media in recruiting people, and what are the other mechanisms through which the youth is recruited. Prevention and solutions to these pressing issues drove the interaction, and delegates received critical knowledge relating to how they can help solve this issue as the upcoming generation, as well as learning about which institutions can directly affect the radicalization process, both in positive and negative manners.

The Atlantic Council of Montenegro and YATA Montenegro recognize that future generation is the group most vulnerable to violent radicalization but simultaneously the group that has the greatest potential to prevent and counter it. Knowing that, one of the main objectives was for young people to gain skills and necessary knowledge in recognizing and combating radicalization.

We strongly believe that we have succeeded in our efforts to encourage significant discussion with a wide range of opinions regarding one of the most important issues in the field of international security. All of the participants agreed upon that regardless of education, age andclass everyone can undergo radicalization, as well as that terrorism and violent extremism are global problems and should not be linked only to one religion or group.

The Workshop has managed to justify high standards set by our events and became the platform for critical discussion among the youth.