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Migration and Home Affairs
News announcement2 October 2023Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants: RAN Y&E Working Group meeting - Explorative meeting on dealing with problematic developments of the extreme left, Rome 22-23 November 2023

Please note that this is a meeting for practitioners working in formal and informal education, including youth work.

RAN Y&E Logo

This lunch-to-lunch meeting will take place in Rome on 22 and 23 November 2023.
22 November 13.30 - 17.30
23 November 09.00 - 13.00

For our RAN Youth & Education (Y&E) Working Group meeting, we are looking for youth workers, teachers, and other relevant experts and professionals working with youngsters.Practitioners who can provide concrete examples from their daily practices or who are facing challenges around the extreme left are invited to respond to this call for participants.

Background and aim of the meeting

While in the past years the ‘woke movement’ has increasingly become a topic of concern in public debate and is even being labelled by some as a left-wing threat to democracy, it remains a relatively vague and undefined concept. Currently, the most controversial topics addressed by the left side of the political spectrum roughly concern gender, race, and sexuality, often collectively called ‘identity politics.’ The sensitivity of these topics and the careful way they should be approached, as well as the ensuing implications of ‘cancel culture’ are hard to grasp for many professionals. Moreover, with intensifying climate protests and a re-emerging antifascist movement, it is worth looking at how current day (extremist) far left is manifesting itself among young people, and what this means for youth professionals in their daily work.

A large part of the youngest generation is thus questioning the status quo and is getting increasingly vocal about it. Engaging with political struggle is not a problem and is even encouraged in a democratic society, but there might be risks for escalation and challenges for youth practitioners. In this RAN Y&E Working Group meeting, we will explore how youth practitioners are confronted with recent developments on the far left, how these affect the primary processes of formal and informal education, what the risks of potential radicalisation are, and what this means for PVE.

Because of the explorative nature of this meeting, we are looking for practitioners who have dealt with and can share experiences around the following three topics:

  1. Polarisation around discussions that are hard to deal with for youth practitioners. We will start with the example of currently heated debates about identity politics from a ‘woke’ perspective, mostly concerning race, gender, and sexuality. What do we see happening in the classroom with new taboos around these topics and ‘cancel culture’?
  2. Potential for escalation. Growing concerns among youngsters about their future have gotten many of them involved in activism. On some topics like the climate and energycrisis, for example, protests have been intensifying in scale and nature, raising questions and concerns about radicalisation towards civil disobedience, sabotage, or violence against material targets. We will look into this and potentially other topics where the lines between intensifying protest and potential radicalisation are vague as it is important to distinguish between the two and to share experiences and views on this distinction.
  3. Youngsters who (want to) use violence for left-wing causes. For example, with the rise of the far right in the past decade, a resurgence occurred in antifascist mobilisation, leading to violent confrontations with right-wing extremists in various Member States. We will investigate how such confrontations occur in schools and youth work organisations, and how youth practitioners can deal with these youngsters that are willing to use violence.   

Target audience: teachers, youth workers, school staff and experts with relevant knowledge, experience and testimonies on this topic.

During this meeting, we will discuss the following questions with the participants:

  1. What are the experiences and testimonies of youth professionals with problematic polarisation, escalating activism, and violent mobilisation around left-wing topics?
  2. What are the consequences of the mentioned developments for PVE?
  3. How can we use the polarisation around these topics as an opportunity to boost resilience and instil democratic values among youngsters?

Please note that travel and accommodation will be covered and arranged by RAN.

How to register

If you can provide concrete examples from daily practices, or if you experience challenges around this topic, please register here. We will invite participants based on the information in the registration link. Please note that we can only invite a limited number of participants to this meeting to ensure valuable exchange and interaction, so participation is not guaranteed.  

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact b [dot] broedersatradaradvies [dot] nl (Boy Broeders) or s [dot] lenosatradaradvies [dot] nl (Steven Lenos).



Publication date
2 October 2023
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs