Omezzine Khélifa

In 2017, I was nominated New Voices Fellow by the Aspen Institute and I had the privilege to be invited to speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017 along with Matthew Wynia and Christopher Kirchhoff. The topic was – and still is – challenging: how to quell violent extremism using public health tools. Jackie Judd did a great job to get us to talk about the rise of radicalization and violent extremism, to describe how it is a worldwide threat, and especially to challenge the idea that it can only be countered by military solutions and the vigilance of law enforcement. Our diverse backgrounds of scholarship and experience suggest that the tools of public health may have an underutilized role to play in confronting violent extremism by helping to identify at-risk individuals, building resilient communities hostile to extremism, offering nonviolent forums for expressing grievances, and strengthening mental health services. I’m not sure health-centered interventions can change hearts and minds and turn potentially violent people in other directions. I strongly believe that we need to intervene before violence becomes a tangible alternative to an otherwise desperate life without dignified living conditions and avenues to build a fulfilling future.

Quelling Violent Extremism with Public Health Tools

Original source: