D10.1 Country Report | May 2023

Authors: Mattia Zeba & Roberta Medda-Windischer – EURAC Research (Eurac), Institute for Minority Rights

This report provides an analysis of three education-focused interventions as deradicalization tools in the context of Italy. The aim is to identify challenges, different approaches, and effective practices in civic education as preventive measures against radicalization processes. Civic education programs, which shape individuals’ beliefs, commitments, capabilities, and actions within communities, have been found to foster critical thinking, civic engagement, and democratic values. They also contribute to individuals’ desistance from terrorist groups by broadening their political values and introducing alternative perspectives. These programs can address feelings of alienation and polarization by promoting active citizenship and a shared sense of belonging.

The report examines three EU projects coordinated by Italian research institutions: OLTRE, PRACTICE, and PROVA. Each project’s scope, target groups, implementing organizations, and methods are summarized, followed by a detailed description of implementation and outcomes. The report discusses the lessons learned, achievements, drawbacks, and challenges of each project. A comparative summary of the projects’ analysis highlights successful approaches in civic education-based interventions as deradicalization tools.

The analysis reveals that coercive approaches lack a preventive component and fail to provide effective long-term solutions to radicalization. Top-down initiatives that predefine concepts and needs lack adaptability. Instead, preventive actions require an
interdisciplinary approach to identify and analyse various factors contributing to radicalization. Participatory approaches, such as focus groups, role-plays, and theatrical methods, foster empathy, inclusion, critical thinking, and resilience to radicalization. These approaches involve stakeholders in co-defining and co-designing interventions, promoting commitment, focus, and a sense of belonging.

The report emphasizes the importance of involving the young population in tackling radicalization effectively and in the long term. Collaboration with educational institutions is crucial for offering preventive actions and providing tools for resilience at an early stage. By engaging youth, civic education programs can address radicalization factors and promote positive social change. The report concludes that an interdisciplinary, participatory, and youth-focused approach is key to successful deradicalization efforts.