President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 19, 2015. (State Department photo)

New Podcast Series Examines Global Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism

By Moira Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Digital Strategy for the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State

Violent extremism has profound effects on families and communities around the world. Horrific images of beheadings on YouTube; the harrowing stories of women being kidnapped, enslaved, and sexually abused; and the heartbreaking tales of unsuspecting, impressionable youths falling victim to recruitment and radicalization efforts, have contributed to a growing awareness of its potential to destroy lives and ravage societies. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that violent extremism may well be “the defining challenge of our generation.”

One year ago, President Obama brought together local, federal, and international leaders to address this challenge. The three-day summit to Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) that followed launched a global effort to counter violent extremism — the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists, the propagandists and recruiters, as well as the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence.

We are addressing this challenge head-on, and thankfully, we are not doing this alone. The United States and its allies are making gains through the U.S.-Led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. We’re also making progress through the Sawab Center — a joint effort with the United Arab Emirates to direct online engagement to counter terrorist propaganda rapidly and effectively. Through these and many other efforts, the United States is employing a range of diplomatic tools, expanding our partnerships, and building bilateral and regional capabilities to best protect America’s interests and people.

We would like to keep you apprised of these efforts through our new “Countering Violent Extremism” audio series. Throughout this year, we plan to release podcasts examining a specific element of this multifaceted challenge. The podcasts will cover topics such as the impact of violent extremism on economies, the protection of cultural heritage sites from destruction and exploitation of extremists, the role religious and community leaders can play in speaking out against extremism, and the impact different programs are having in communities around the world.

You can listen to the first segment here:

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We invite you to listen to future episodes, as some of the international community’s key players examine the global response to violent extremism and share insights on how we can address this challenge. Check out the Department’s SoundCloud account for future episodes and share these conversations online.

Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s official blog.