US ALLOTS $200K IN EUROPE TO PROMOTE ‘POSITIVE NARRATIVES’ ABOUT REFUGEES

The grant aims to use digital platforms to help integrate immigrants and counter violent extremism

By Alex Pfeiffer

A grant from the U.S. embassy in Belgium designates $200,000 for a group to promote positive narratives about refugees and immigrants in Europe.

The grant aims to use digital platforms to help integrate immigrants and counter violent extremism. It was announced on May 12 and applications for the year-long grant can be submitted until May 29.

Non-government or non-profit groups have to achieve at least one or more of the grant’s objectives. These are: “counter narrative, preventative outreach, and capacity building.” A document outlining the grant describes “counter narrative” as: “Dispel the narratives of extremist groups that incite violence and provide alternative narratives. Provide positive narratives concerning refugees and immigrant populations.”

The other objectives consist of outreach to “at-risk youth and communities” and providing alternatives to “ordinary citizens susceptible to recruitment into violent extremism.” While the grant is being doled out by the U.S. embassy in Belgium, the project can be completed anywhere within Europe. Belgium is one of many countries that President Trump has yet to appoint a new ambassador to serve in.

Over 1 million refugees poured into Europe in a migrant crisis in 2015, mostly hailing from Syria, Afghanistan and other Muslim-majority nations. At the same time thousands of European individuals have left to fight with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and terror attacks have plagued Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Nations are now worried about the prospect of these terrorists returning to Europe.

The grant hopes to “reduce violent extremism and terrorism by promoting a comprehensive approach to address violent extremist challenges in Europe.” (RELATED: U.S. Interfered In Macedonia’s Political Process, Documents Show)

“Our office seeks to promote positive narratives and tolerant perspectives as well as directly dispel violent extremist messaging; reduce violent extremism through education, critical thinking, and structured dialogue; and enhance and amplify community-based resiliency efforts focused on women and youth,” a document describing the project says.

The grant-winners will continue the work of the U.S.’ “Peer 2 Peer” program, which aims to use the work of university students. The document states, “The idea is to produce larger scale communication content and innovative solutions to challenge extremism that can be used and shared broadly.”

The program says grant-winners can promote positive narratives about refugees and immigrants through “TV, radio, online, and social-media campaigns.” The embassy aims for the program to be “be sustainable beyond the life of the grant.”

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