People that make a difference
Listening to young people
For 100,000+ subscribers in his native Malaysia and beyond, twentysomething YouTuber Vikar is a master of comedy: sketches, straight-to-camera vlogs, music video parodies… his channel is packed with the sort of fun, irreverent content beloved by Generation Z. So, when his 2018 video ‘I Was a Terrorist’ appears on the queue, it comes as something of a shock. Set in a sparse prison cell, it shows a young female victim of violent extremism confronting the man who attacked her family – a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit, played by Vikar himself. The conversation plays out as each tells the story from their perspective, speaking with the same voice as they set out motivations and consequences, and lay bare their pain, anger and remorse.
Across many EU Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) activities, young people as a group play an important role. On the one hand, they can be more vulnerable to extremist narratives. On the other, they are some of the most passionate promoters of peace and tolerance in their communities. Initiatives such as Creators for Change provide a platform for young voices to contribute to the public debate on the issues that affect their lives, while other projects aim to build emotional resilience among young people who may be under pressure. The STRIVE Global GCERF programme, for example, has worked with Serbian youth through engagement, leadership skills training and cognitive and social-emotional skills development. And a STRIVE Global Hedayah theatre training initiative in Jordan has helped young people tap into their creativity while raising awareness of VE to a broader audience – as participants developed an interactive play on the impact of VE and toured it in various locations across the country.