On December 5, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the FP Group, publisher of Foreign Policy magazine and foreignpolicy.com, held the third installment of PeaceGame. This PeaceGame examined peace keeping and peace making issues as they relate to the rise in global violent extremism. All attendees were invited to contribute to the conversation throughout the day with live, interactive polling and open mic questioning.
Employing PeaceGame’s innovative, scenario-based, multi-media model, the event is built around two scenarios that explore both the economic and political causes of radicalization and support for violent extremism in the context of the current situation in Nigeria.
USIP held an in-depth look at several vital and little understood dimensions of extremism and an exploration of ideas for coping and defusing extremism worldwide.
Framing Panel I: The Economic Roots of Extremism
The morning panel will feature two experts on the economic roots of extremism and two experts on Nigeria. The Nigeria experts will discuss the rise of extremism and Boko Haram and the economic roots of extremism in Nigeria, including poverty, unemployment, and economic inequality. Drawing from the example of Nigeria, the extremism panelists will discuss how economic drivers of support for Boko Haram are similar (or different) to those that gave rise to radicalized groups in other countries (e.g. Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia). The economic issues identified in the panel will be the centerpieces of the scenario to follow.
Scenario I: Exploring the Economic Drivers of Radicalization and Extremism in Nigeria
The first scenario will focus on the economic roots of extremism in northern Nigeria. It will bring together experts playing the role of Nigerian and international actors who can play an active role in quelling the rise of Boko Haram via programs that focus on economic issues, such as job creation, entrepreneurship, or engaging the international and local private sector.
Framing Panel II: The second panel will be a discussion on how political factors, including political marginalization, ethnic and tribal dynamics, or human rights abuses by the security forces are fueling the rise of extremism.
Scenario II: Exploring Political Drivers of Extremism and Radicalization in Nigeria
The afternoon scenario will explore the political discord underlying the situation in Nigeria, examining issues around inclusion, marginalization, and security in the context of the 2015 election. At play is the tension between the democratic process and Boko Haram’s basic premise that democracy is a tool of western oppression and that an Islamic caliphate is the only system that will genuinely address their grievances.
Closing Panel: “Lessons for the World: Opening New Fronts for Peacemakers”
In this last session, the Nigerian and extremism expert observers will identify the most important lessons of both scenarios, not just for Nigeria but for other specific situations in which they may be expert, including but not limited to, elsewhere in Africa, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
During the PeaceGame, participants will assume the roles of various actors party to the Nigerian conflict. Their statements should not be construed as representing their own personal views or the views of their respective organizations.
The event will be followed by a reception.