Using grass roots community programs as an anti-extremism strategy

Author: Robyn Broadbent, Victoria University

Edition: Volume 53, Number 2, July 2013

Summary: In recent times the Australian Government has become increasingly concerned with the challenge to the dominant culture by humanitarian immigrants entering the country.  As a part of a complex strategy, emerging from the events of 9/11 and the perceived changing face of multiculturalism in Australia, the Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced in 2011 more than $1.1 million in funding for projects to mentor and support young people to stay disengaged from intolerant and radical ideologies.The grants have been awarded under the Building Community resilience – Youth Mentoring Grants Program (2010) and are  designed to promote a tolerant, safe and inclusive society.

As a result of that funding a northern suburbs Council Youth Services in Victoria established a project to work with young people 12-17 years who have been identified by Victoria Police, the education sector, and welfare agencies as individuals who have or are exhibiting signs of fostering hatred and intolerance either through the spoken word, written messages, graffiti, the media, or the internet, that live within this local government area. This paper discusses the results of the evaluation of a multicultural leadership program that was delivered using an adult learning framework in which 16 young people attended and how such programs can continue to build the capacity of communities to build scaffolds of support that ensure the inclusion of young people and not their marginalization.

Keywords: Young people, extremism, racism, community program

 

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 53_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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