What themes and symbols allow political extremist movements to create a brand and develop potential followers?
This question sparked an international research project and recently won Thomas Just a “Young Ambassador Award for Peace and the Rapprochement of Cultures.”
An international relations doctoral student in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Just worked with a group of students from around the world – students from Iraq and Tunisia – on the project.
“Our goal was to find ways for countries to combat that sort of ideology. I think our main message is that in order to truly curtail the growth of extremism, societies must expand their efforts beyond military campaigns and focus on ideological campaigns. It’s through ideas that extremism grows,” Just explains.
The award – presented by the Aladdin Project, under the patronage of UNESCO and with the support of the European Commission – recognized the work Just and his group conducted in 2015 while participating in the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership. The program brings together top students and world-class faculty from universities across the globe to cultivate the values of peace, mutual respect and intercultural dialogue.
In May, Just reunited with his colleagues and accepted the award at a gala dinner at the Hotel de Ville in Paris. The group shared their research with dignitaries, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy; leaders from the United Nations…
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