Work Area: Promoting Youth Leadership

Initiative: Extremely Together

Violent extremism is a serious threat to our societies, affecting young people disproportionally, both as perpetrators and victims. However, the critical role youth play in preventing violent extremism is often ignored. Young people can spot early signs of radicalisation and can create safe dialogue spaces for their peers to express their frustrations and feelings of marginalisation.


Extremely Together is the Foundation’s youth leadership initiative, which brings together ten Young Leaders, all active in preventing violent extremism (PVE) in their communities and beyond. After the publication of their landmark guide “Countering violent extremism – A guide for young people by young people”, the Young Leaders set out to train peers and inspire them to take action against violent extremism.

This group serves as an inspiration for those who feel disempowered; they offer instead a positive vision of what young people’s energy and idealism can achieve when they work “extremely together”. By doing so, Extremely Together provides to young people who are in transitional stages of their lives a different path towards building an independent identity and finding a sense of purpose – based on dialogue, tolerance and acceptance.

A female and two male participants talking during an Extremely Together event.

A threat to peace:

  • In 2017, 45% of those arrested for terrorist offences in the European Union were between 20-30 years old.1
  • According to the World Youth Report, the ‘jihadism’ promoted by al-Qaeda and Daesh is “almost exclusively associated with young men under the age of 25…”
  • The number of deaths from terrorism associated with far-right groups and individuals has increased from three in 2014 to 17 in 2017.2


A crowd of young people at a rally or event.

What we did in 2018:

  • Provided training and workshops in Morocco, Uganda, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan and the UK to equip youth globally to take action against extremism. Many of the young people trained have become very actively engaged against extremism in their respective communities, especially in Uganda and Somalia, where Extremely Together Chapters have been set up.
  • Helped give young people a seat at the decision-making table. Our Young Leaders addressed the Commonwealth Youth Forum and met with decision makers such as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May. They contributed to German inter-ministerial working groups on the prevention of extremism and participated in the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • We co-organised “Listen! A Youth Perspective on Preventing Violent Extremism;” a side-event at the UNGA by the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, and the European Union, where the Young Leaders shared some of the obstacles they face as young people combating violent extremism and the strategies they use to overcome those hurdles.

What we are doing now:

  • Following the training sessions piloted in 2018, Extremely Together will launch a new network of young “Extremely Together Champions” in the native countries of some of the Young Leaders.
  • The extended network will expand the reach of the Young Leaders and support each region to do more against extremism.
  • The Foundation will continue to use its access and leverage at the policy level to ensure youth voices are represented in key international conferences.