Education is key to tackling radicalisation

2 June 2015

Education is the best possible antidote to radicalisation, Professor Louise Richardson told delegates at our Going Global 2015 conference in London today.

Professor Richardson, recently nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, was speaking on a panel discussing radicalisation and extremism in universities in the UK and beyond, at our Going Global conference in London today.

"Any terrorist I have ever met through my academic work had a highly over simplified view of the world, which they saw in black and white terms. Education robs you of that simplification and certitude. Education is the best possible to antidote to radicalisation." she said.

In a wide-ranging discussion on radicalisation in universities and counter-terrorism measures, the audience was also told that threat levels are being exaggerated.

Professor Breen-Smyth told the audience that the key problem lies with violence, and not radical ideas.  "I would put education in schools and universities about violence and alternatives to violence.  We need to equip young people with an understanding of how to organise campaigns and impact on their worlds in a non-violent and democratic way.”

It was vital, the panel agreed, that radical thought was allowed and fostered in univerisities. Prof Richardson pointed out that “The idea that the world was round was once a radical idea. It’s imperative we have a place that ideas can be challenged, and universities are the perfect place for that.”

Read our full press release here.

Go to the session on Going to extremes: universities and radicalisation.