Quilliam Global’s Executive Director Jonathan Russell is the Project Coordinator for Extremely Together. Extremely Together is a Kofi Annan Foundation Initiative to promote young people to counter violent extremism (CVE) and make a real impact in preventing terrorism – the headline issue of our generation. It is the product of a unique partnership between the Kofi Annan Foundation, One Young World, and the European Commission and reflects the commitment of all three organisations to promote peace and security, put young leaders at the heart of decision-making, and find local solutions to global problems.
Extremely Together launched with a competition for young CVE leaders. Over 500 applicants from 72 different countries were eligible for selection, and the range and depth of youth leadership in CVE all over the world was inspiring. The 10 young people chosen to represent Extremely Together all have a different approach to CVE, have had diverse life experiences and bring an array of skill sets to the team.
However, they share a common set of values, and a common commitment to tackling extremism of all kinds and coordinating their efforts for global benefit.
Extremely Together recognises that violent extremism threatens us all, but young people are uniquely placed to counter its terrible appeal and inspire young people through creating an inclusive vision for the future. In recent years, violent extremist organisations such as ISIS have showed an ability to communicate with millennials by tapping into growing anti-establishment sentiment, using the latest technology, and having clear symbols and messages. In response, governments and counter-extremists have struggled to articulate a clear alternative message. Extremely Together aims to succeed where others have failed.