In August, I posted on Google's plans for its own think tank, Google Ideas, and how the company that is re-organizing the world was taking its leader not from the technology field, but from the State Department. In a guest post at the Council on Foreign Relations, Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen (who is also an adjunct fellow at CFR) announced a new initiative between CFR and Google Ideas to combat violent extremism.
Google Ideas and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) will host the “Summit Against Violent Extremism” in Dublin, Ireland between June 26 and 29, convening former members of violent organizations from inner-city gangs to right-wing militants and religious extremist groups. What makes these “formers” unique is that all have rejected violence and are now actively and publicly working for groups that fight extremism and are recognized by local governments and law enforcement.
With more than 50 percent of the world’s population under the age of thirty and the vast majority of those characterized as “at risk” either socially, economically, or both, an oversupply exists of young people susceptible to recruitment by the extremist religious or ideological group closest to them in identity or proximity.
In addition to the approximately fifty former extremists, another 200 individuals from other sectors who are concerned with extremism will participate in the summit. The intention of the conference is to spark a global conversation about preventing young people from joining radical movements with particular emphasis on how technology plays a role in that endeavor. A study will be published later in the year.