Barcelona
Elcano Royal Institute and Open Society Initiative for Europe co-organized a workshop on prevent violent extremism’s policies and practices in the Euromediterranean region. Methodology was at the core of the meeting: the MINDb4ACT's partners learnt innovative approaches to be applied in the project, like "Living Labs".

On Wednesday, 31 January 2017 a one-day meeting on countering violent radicalization (CVE) was held by Elcano Royal Institute in collaboration with the foundation Open Society Initiative for Europe in Barcelona. The workshop titled “The design of participation’s mechanism in CVE’s policies”, was directed at experts and partners of the project on preventing violent radicalization “MINDb4ACT”, and aimed to introduce the methodology that will be applied throughout one of the core outputs of MINDb4ACT project: the Living Labs. The initiative had a double aim: understanding the constraints and obstacles to develop preventive and participatory mechanisms, meanwhile improving partners’ knowledge on the methodology of Living Labs.

“Preventing violent radicalization is not only a security issue, but a social one. Now, there is a big gap between the practical level, counter violent radicalization practices and what is really happening in the societal sphere. If we really want to prevent terrorist acts to be taking place, it is necessary to have a participatory approach. One of the objective of this project is to reconnect policies and main prevention strategies with the society by using up-to-date methodologies and participatory mechanism like the ‘living labs”, said Francisco Andrés, Director of MINDb4ACT.

On the same line, Jordi Vaquer, co-director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe, said “we share with the MINDb4ACT project the objective of preventing violent radicalization. Terrorism is a massive threat to the open society, it has been affected some communities disproportionally and we have to do something to stop it. That is how we came to this table and we are hugely interested in learning about the topic”.

The event was set up into two parts. First, a brief introduction was made by leading representatives of Open Society Initiative for Europe and Elcano’s Project Office. Then, three events on MINDb4ACT methodological tools followed. Panellists discussed about the project main procedures, about mapping institutional frameworks and main stakeholders, and the methodological design of living labs was presented.

In the afternoon, two roundtables on counter violent extremism’s policies have been held. The first event was directed to think thanks committed to the topic of violent radicalization leading to terrorism and counter strategies, whether the second meeting was organised for practitioners and local policy makers, concerning the Barcelona’s experience in detecting violent radicalization behaviours and its strategy after the terrorist attacks.

Special guests of the event were two experts on living labs methodology: the anthropologist José Sánchez, from the University Pompeu Fabra,explaining some procedures on ethnographic analysis, and the sociologist Jordi Colobrans, from the University of Barcelona and advisor in the European Network of Living Labs, who presented the concept of living labs and its implementation in security issues.