More than a 100 people joined together this week in Coventry to look at the threat from terrorism and how to make local people more resilient to extremism.
The event attracted pupils from schools across the city to give young people the chance to discuss global and local challenges and how the Government Prevent Duty aims to help young people to be safeguarded from extremists.
It was held at Sidney Stringer School and included a dramatization of extremism in daily life by the Birmingham-based Play House, before hearing at first hand the experiences of Ahmed Nawas a 17 year old young man who was a student when his school was attacked by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2014. An attack which led to the death of his brother and more than 130 of his fellow pupils.
Following on from those presentations, the young people took part in discussion groups supported by experts in responding to extremism, including the Tim Parry, Johnathon Ball Peace Foundation, Facing History, Internet safety and Since 9/11.
The aim of the conference was to enable Coventry students to find out more about what fuels violent extremism and how we can work together to promote peace and resolution of conflicts. It’s hoped that the students will take back ideas into their own school for how to promote awareness and discussions in classrooms across Coventry.
Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, the Cabinet Lead for Prevent and tackling extremism, commented: “Coventry has long been regarded as a City of Peace and Reconciliation, and today’s conference was a really positive way for young people to discuss the threats from extremists in today’s world.
“We want to encourage local people to continue to support one another and reject intolerance and hatred.”
Jane Flynn, from Sidney Stringer Academy, added: “We really welcomed this initiative to bring pupils together to hear directly the impact of terrorism and violence has on our daily lives. It’s through working together, exchanging views, and sharing understanding that we can help prevent these atrocities taking place in the future.”
During his talk Ahmed Nawaz, said to the students “young peoples’ voices can make a difference. Take responsibility to speak out. Today let us Pledge to speak out – to be the best that we can.”