A blog entry by 3rd year Bachelor of International Relations Student Lara Schober

Representing ie university as a ‘scribe’ at the Madrid+10 Policy Dialogue on “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” organized by the Club de Madrid was a great honor and an incredible experience. Me and ten fellow ie students from the BIR, the BBABIR and the MIR had the opportunity to get a rather unique insight into how diplomacy, political dialogue and individual debates between former statesmen and ministers, experts and important leaders, such as King Felipe VI or Ban Ki-Moon, take place.
Different discussions, led by a moderator, between various panelists on topics such as “New Approaches towards Preventing Violent Extremism” or “Obstacles and Opportunities in the Fight Against Violent Extremism” clearly showed how difficult it can be to reach a global consensus on this quite controversial issue and how emotionally involved some of the panelists, but also participants from the audience, are. Heated debates also arose in the framework of various workshops, which mainly focused on the role of women, the importance of education and online media, and the role of religious leaders in the fight against violent extremism.
Besides some disagreements, especially regarding the involvement of Russia in the Syrian conflict or the role of the West in the fight against ISIS, there seemed to be a clear consensus on the importance of the role of the youth and that it should be a priority to meet their grievances, incorporate them into society, and create an environment with positive future outlooks. Furthermore it was being emphasized that religion is not the problem, but part of the solution in countering violent extremism, and that statesmen should increasingly engage in an interreligious dialogue with religious leaders and enhance pluralism and tolerance within their sphere of influence.
Although we perceived it as somewhat hypocritical to be the only representatives of the youth that carries all the hope, the areas of agreement and the mere fact that such a significant number of former politicians, religious leaders, and representatives of NGOs from all around the world came together to share their opinions and ultimately work towards a common goal, showed me that diplomacy and politics might not be as hopeless in countering violent extremism as I previously thought.



A blog entry by 3rd year Bachelor of International Relations Student Anja Ungeheuer

Just like a great presentation does, the opening ceremony of the “MADRID +10: Policy Dialogue on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” started with a big bang. When King Felipe VI arrived, it left us very reverent. But, after giving a very charismatic speech he was even friendly enough to allow us to take a picture with him. By then, the realisation of what an amazing opportunity was given to us, kicked in. What followed was the first panel we were able to attend on “Beyond Counterterrorism: New Approaches towards Preventing Violent Terrorism”. The underlying consensus established was that Extremism is only a symptom and not the root cause. Thus, policy makers need to analyse the grievances of the people that push them towards radicalisation. At the same time, it is important to stress that extremism is not a religious or an ethnic issue. In addition, CVE is a generational challenge and should strongly be addressed to the youth. Furthermore, it was said that religious leaders should play a greater role in condemning radicalisation and in guiding the international community on how to deal with extremism from the Middle East.

Afterwards, we attended our first workshop. The workshops were divided between four topics 1) “Role of women in countering radicalization and violent extremism” 2) “Educators in dialogue, youth in debate: countering violent extremism” 3) “Building peace through inter-religious dialogue” 4) “Online Radicalisation”. That evening, I attended the fourth workshop, which in summary discussed how civil society can be mobilised online, by creating a comprehensive, positive narrative, to take away the media space terrorists have. Furthermore, it was discussed whether the Internet needs regulation and how you can counter terrorism online, without taking away freedom of speech. In addition, the day ended after very intense discussion, which only made us look forward to the next day even more! Read more…


Peter Neumann

On October 22nd, Peter Neumann, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), King’s College addressed the IE Master in International Relations students in a very interesting exchange on the threat of terrorism, violent radicalization and ISIS. Prof. Neumann started off the seminar by stating that terrorism kills less people every year than traffic accidents or being struck by a bolt of lightning. This being said, terrorism is much more pernicious in that its impact goes beyond just violence. To illustrate this, Peter Neumann gave 3 examples: Tunisia, Syria/Iraq and Europe today.


  • Tunisia until recently was hailed as one of the success stories of the Arab Spring yet just a few months ago its leaders insisted it was on the brink of collapse. How so? Two successive acts of terrorism (the attack of the Museum in Tunis and subsequent attack at a XXX beach resort) pretty much destroyed the tourism industry in Tunisia. Tourism accounts for 35% of Tunisia’s GDP. This is a clear example of how terrorism (that in fact killed “just” 80 to 90 people) had a crippling effect on the Tunisian economy.
  • Syria/Iraq: We are in the midst of a historical transformational period in the Middle East comparable to Europe in 1916. There is a lot of chaos and instability and no one has a clear vision of what the outcome of this upheaval will be. The presence of the Islamic State has complicated the situation considerably. What is most striking is that the group has engaged in genocide, mass atrocities and normalized practices that were until now completely extinct. They have reintroduced human slavery and an ancient tax on non-Muslims as a way to generate revenues. The reintroduction and normalizing of these previously disused practices is extremely disturbing.
  • Europe: According to Peter Neumann, we will see a rise of terrorist attacks in Europe but on a small scale such as the attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo HQ or the attacks in Copenhagen or in the TGV between Brussels and Paris. The impact of these attacks will be to strengthen the already rising far right parties in Europe as we can see I Sweden, Denmark and in France with Marine Le Pen’s National Front. This will have a strong impact on European societies and will lead to discrimination against minorities and a backlash against immigrants, such as the one we are currently seeing today with Syrian refugees. This will threaten the pluralistic, multiethnic, tolerant social fabric that Europe currently prides itself in.

Read more…




On Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 October, 11 specially selected students from the IE Master in International Relations, IE Bachelor in International Relations and the IE Dual Bachelor Degree in International Relations and Business Administration were invited by the Club de Madrid to participate as scribes in the 2-day “MADRID +10: Policy Dialogue on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism”. Students were tasked with writing short reports on the various sessions they attended that would then be used as content by the Club de Madrid. The conference gathered over 200 leading experts, opinion shapers, former heads of state, academics, civil society and NGOs around the themes of prevention of violent extremism and radicalization. The symposium was opened by H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain and closed with a keynote address by Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. Other noted speakers included Habib Essid, Prime Minister, Government of Tunisia and José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The exclusive participation of the IE International Relations students in the conference further consolidated a growing collaboration between the Club de Madrid and the IE School of International Relations. Just last week, on Oct. 22nd, the principal content coordinator of the event, Prof. Peter Neumann, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), King’s College, came to IE along with other Club de Madrid members for a seminar with IE Master in International Relations students. The talk was a preview of the Madrid+10 Policy Dialogue in which Prof. Neumann answered questions on the threat of terrorism, violent extremism and ISIS in a very interesting exchange with the students.

The World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid is an independent and non-profit organization comprised of 102 former heads of democratic states and governments from 67 countries.  It is the world’s largest forum of its kind, made up of former presidents and prime ministers from democratic countries who have come together to provide a response to growing demand among leaders for support in two key areas – leadership for democratic governance and solutions for crisis and post-crisis situations.


IE International Advisory Board Members visit IE Segovia Campus

Written on October 26, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in News

International advisory board members Carl H. Hahn, P. Zulueta, , visit IE’s Segovia campus on Oct. 22nd, in the context of the Annual International Advisory Board Meeting.



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