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RUSI has significant international expertise in countering violent extremism (CVE) – researching radicalisation, implementing CVE programmes, and understanding what works and what doesn’t. 

Threats from terrorism and violent extremism are a top priority for governments and multilateral bodies such as the UN and the EU. There is a growing recognition that counter-terrorism, with its dependence on military, law enforcement and intelligence responses, cannot manage the problem alone. CVE has emerged as a field of theory and practice that seeks to complement counter-terrorism with non-coercive measures, particularly using preventative approaches which seek to address the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism.

The Institute’s expertise in countering violent extremism spans research, policy analysis, programme implementation, and training and education. RUSI’s CVE work reaches across the world, with particular emphasis on the UK and Europe, the Middle East, East Africa, and Central Asia. 

Current Activities

On counter-extremism and understanding contemporary geographies of radicalisation, RUSI runs a suite of projects in Kenya, Afghanistan, Russia and Central Asia. In Kenya, our groundbreaking programme involves local mentors working with youths at risk of radicalisation, in an approach described as ‘innovative’ in a major feature by The Guardian in March 2019. In a major feature, the newspaper highlighted the programme’s unconventional approaches to persuade people away from extremism. The lessons learned from this programme have been incorporated into subsequent counter-radicalisation interventions developed by other organisations, such as the British Council. RUSI is implementing a similar EU-funded initiative in Afghanistan and the model has been taken to policymakers in other countries. In Russia and Central Asia, RUSI carried out fieldwork and works with local partners to study radicalisation amongst labour migrants in Russia, making recommendations in local languages.

RUSI’s expertise in this area was brought together in a major agenda-shaping paper  that assessed the current state of global counter-radicalisation work, and was launched in New York, Brussels and London with senior level support from the UN, the EU and numerous governments. In April 2019, the BBC published research from RUSI on the reasons why women turn to terrorism and rehabilitation approaches for former or returning fighters.


Emily Winterbotham
Director, Terrorism and Conflict
Michael Jones
Research Fellow