Acknowledges the issues at stake in conflict, yet implements short-term to long-term measures offering alternatives to direct, structural and cultural violence and limiting the use of force, often in places seen as particularly vulnerable.
Conflict transformation and peacebuilding strive to integrate a preventative mindset already in the early stages of conflicts and highlight the important role of educating for non-violence.
The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
In recent years, an additional area of violence prevention has been discussed widely: preventing violent extremism. Violent extremism describes a current form of seemingly uncompromising political violence. Although it is today usually associated with certain religious groups, it is by no means confined to one group, religion or region, and it is certainly not new. Those now justifying violence ‘in the name of …’ as legitimate action see themselves as oppressed by structural/cultural violence (e.g., military interventions, political-cultural-economic dominance of ‘the West’ or ‘the impertinence’ of liberal societies). In that ideological rhetoric, fighting ‘evil’ without compromise is the only way, even if this may involve brutal acts against civilians.
In several research projects, teams at the Berghof Foundation are currently exploring whether and how (more) effective prevention of violent extremism can be achieved by focusing on local experiences and group processes of mobilisation and demobilisation.