Research on anti-extremism efforts draws visitors from all over the world to AU
Anti-extremism research at Aarhus University is currently receiving a lot of attention from countries around the world. Representatives from several embassies are eager to pay visits to the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences to learn more about the so-called “Aarhus programme”.
Professor Preben Bertelsen is deeply involved in research projects focusing on the prevention of radicalisation and terrorism, and he is currently working together with the Eastern Jutland police department and Aarhus Municipality on the so-called “Aarhus programme”. The collaboration has been very successful and has resonated around the world, and now a lot of people are curious to learn more about the project. Within the last four months, they have received more than 150 inquiries from television networks, radio stations and newspapers from around the world.
“If we don’t try to reintegrate the young Muslims who have been in Syria, we risk pushing them into further problems with extremism and crime,” says Professor Preben Bertelsen. This is the very core of how the Aarhus programme operates.
Contrary to efforts made in many other countries, the focus of the Aarhus programme is early intervention and support to prevent radicalisation and help the young men who have been to e.g. Syria become reintegrated in Danish society. The project is very interesting to a lot of other countries, precisely because it actually seems to be working.
This week, Preben Bertelsen has had a visit from the Belgian ambassador Pol de Witte and Michiel Maertens, the embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, who wanted to know more about his research and the early intervention project.
The reason for this is that two Belgian cities are very eager to collaborate with Aarhus (the university, the police and the municipality) to develop similar programmes in Belgium. The Danish group have already arranged a workshop, which will take place in Belgium.
Furthermore, in February a delegation from Oslo will be arriving, who are also curious about the work that is being done in Aarhus. The Embassy of France have also asked for a meeting in connection with a visit from representatives of the French Parliament.
Finally, Preben Bertelsen has initiated a collaboration with the Danish National Police to develop a course for the policemen involved in the project on how to provide council and support to the young men and their families.
Professor Preben Bertelsen
Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences
Tel.: +45 87165806