Exploring resilience, violent extremist thinking and the impact of peace education on Syrian youth in Shatila

Summary:

The ongoing conflict in Syria tore apart the fabric of its society and forced more than 11 million people to flee their homes.

The circumstances that Syrian refugees have been forced into are dire and fit the very broad United Nations definition of factors that could make people susceptible to violent extremism. This has prompted organisations working in humanitarian response to take them into consideration in their programming, including in programming focused on building the resilience of youth.

This exploratory study seeks to find out whether there are indicators of susceptibility to violent extremism thoughts among the Syrian youths that participated in Basmeh & Zeitooneh’s Peace Education programme and whether the programme enhanced their overall resilience.

The Peace Education programme under study takes place in Shatila, Beirut, and targets refugee youths that are living in difficult conditions, have little access to treatment for the trauma they experienced during war and displacement, and that are often suffering from social and educational exclusion.

Peace Education sessions seek to enhance the dignity of participants and aim to increase resilience by promoting self-confidence, expressions of creativity, communication, and dialogue.