Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Radicalization and Extremism

One of the dominant contemporary national and global security challenges is violent extremism and terrorism. Violent extremism is defined as encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals. The complexities of violent extremism need to be systematically analyzed so as to improve our understanding of causal mechanisms linking radicalization, extremism and terrorism, and to permit the development of effective counter-extremism and counter-terrorism policies, strategies and activities. Efforts to prevent the process of radicalization to violence have to be multi-sectoral, society wide and international if we are to prevent extremism from taking root.

Research Questions:

  • How can we reduce the risk of individuals succumbing to violent extremism and radicalization?
  • What are the assumptions about pathways to violent radicalization that inform their strategies and programs (outcomes, activities, output and resources)?
  • What are some valuable indicators of performance, success, and effectiveness of CVE programs, and what are the challenges pertinent to measurement and replication of program strategies and outcomes? 
  • What have been the societal perceptions and impacts of counter-terrorist initiatives?


Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Workshop:
Assessing Canada's Domestic and International Strategies
18-19 January 2017

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Special Policy Report
English (1.2 MB)  French (1.2 MB)

The evolving threat of global terrorism has given rise to complex challenges with both domestic and international dimensions. Trends such as the foreign fighter phenomenon, the rampant spread of extremist ideologies online and within communities, and a dramatic increase in terrorist incidents worldwide, have necessitated a more holistic approach to counter violent extremism and terrorism. The field of countering violent extremism (CVE) and the application of preventative, soft power strategies that address the drivers of radicalization have come to the forefront of efforts to combat these threats.

While existing scholarship features extensive research on the potential of CVE strategies, formal program evaluation methodologies remain lacking, complicating the policy making process in this area and undermining the effectiveness of subsequent initiatives. This project will address this critical gap by organizing an international, multidisciplinary workshop, entitled “Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism: Assessing Canada’s Domestic and International Strategies”. At the event, experts from various sectors, including academia, government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s, think tanks), will gather to critically assess the state of CVE and CT strategies, and will help develop success metrics that can be used by current and future stakeholders of CVE and CT initiatives. 

The workshop and research outputs have been presented in partnership with: