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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article14 June 2021

Preventing Violent Extremism in South East Asia– launch of virtual photography exhibition

Radicalisation and violent extremism are putting societies across the globe to the test. While each situation is unique, the solution in addressing these challenges remains global.

Rahma, Indonesia
Rahma, Indonesia
photo (c): Jefri Tarigan


The EU is strongly committed to preventing violent extremisms and works together with partners around the globe on countering this phenomenon, while promoting and preserving peace and security. The Third Oslo Global Preventing Violent Extremism Conference, taking place from 14-16 June, will host a virtual photography exhibition ‘Portraits of Violent Extremism as part of an EU-funded project on preventing violent extremism in South East Asia.

Those who join extremist groups often have non-linear motivations. Yet the choices they make have a direct and indirect effect on the people around them: spouses, family members, neighbours, friends, and members of their community. Exposure to violence can have devastating lifelong impacts on people's physical and psycho-social well-being. 

The virtual photography exhibition showcases intimate stories of survivors, former terrorists and extremists and refugees. These preventive violent extremism approaches, which involve working with affected communities, local leaders, survivors, and perpetrators, are essential in sustainably reducing the risk of future violence. Also, innovation and creativity are key to best comprehend and respond to such a complex phenomenon.

This exhibition brings us the stories from women and men, girls and boys. They could be our mothers or fathers, sisters or brothers. They are people just like us. Violent extremism crossed their path.  They dealt with it, each in their own way.  These stories show us suffering, but bring also hope. They show how tolerance and respect for diversity can make the world a better, more beautiful place.’, said Hilde Hardeman, Director – Head of Service of the Foreign Policy Instruments in the European Commission ahead of the launch.

The exhibition is part of the EU-funded project Preventing Violent Extremism through Promoting Tolerance and Respect for Diversity implemented by UNDP. This aims to strengthen the ability of South East Asian countries (in particular Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines), to identify, respond to and prevent violent extremism. Countries receive hands-on support in developing national action plans to respond to this complex phenomenon, capacity building for government representatives and key civil society actors in promoting tolerance and diversity, knowledge sharing and early-warning systems at regional and national level.

More information:

Extreme lives


Publication date
14 June 2021