In February 2016, top teams from the fall 2015 iteration of P2P: Challenging Extremism traveled to Washington, D.C. to present their campaigns designed to counter extremism and hate.
Meet the President
The students were invited to the Capitol for a tour and information session about the U.S. government. While they were there, President Obama and Vice President Biden walked by the teams, greeted them and thanked them for their work towards challenging extremism.
Watch a video of the encounter featuring one of the participating students from Gulf University for Science & Technology (Kuwait City, Kuwait).
In an effort to honor more than just the top six teams, as well as to highlight additional creative campaigns and messaging against hate and extremism, honorable mention teams were invited to participate in a “Youth Marketplace of Ideas” at the U.S. Department of State. Teams from seven schools set up tables of information about their campaigns. All the invited guests, government officials and industry leaders circulated through the tables, interacted with the students and created an open dialogue to further explore creative ways to challenge hate and extremism. Teams displayed creative ideas and tactics with a variety of approaches towards countering extremism from education to unity to empowerment. One team focused on reaching and uniting the gaming population against extremism, while another focused on encouraging the community to reach and affect the at-risk individuals who may be considering extremism.
One student participant from Rochester Institute of Technology said about her experience with the program, “From CEOs to mothers, we had people coming up to us and telling us we are making an impact. The young people are trying.”
Honorable mention teams at the Youth Marketplace:
Alfaisal University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States)
New York University (New York, New York, United States)
Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York, United States)
University College London (London, United Kingdom)
University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California, United States)
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio, United States)
University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States)
Department of State Awards
After the Youth Marketplace, the top three teams, as recognized by the U.S. Department of State, began their presentations. Each team was given 20 minutes to present, followed by a five minute question and answer session by the judges. The esteemed judging panel included Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, among other government and industry leaders.
After judging, the final placement was determined as
- Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lahore, Pakistan)
- The United States Military Academy (West Point, New York, United States)
- Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland)
Top teams received scholarship awards to correspond with their final ranking in the amounts of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000.
Deputy Secretary Reception
After the awards, the students were invited to attend a reception hosted by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Deputy Secretary greeted the students and thanked them for their efforts to counter extremism.
Facebook Global Digital Challenge
The Facebook Global Digital Challenge event kicked off with a presentation by Facebook Honorable Mention, Middle Tennessee State University and their campaign, Double Take. Their campaign asked community members to take another look at stereotypes they have faced in order to translate this into empathy towards the stereotypes of Islam, to then encourage countering these stereotypes against Islam in order to combat violent extremism.
Following this presentation, the top three teams, as recognized by Facebook, gave presentations to compete for top placement and scholarship awards. The panel of judges included Monika Bickert, Head of Product Policy, Facebook, among other acclaimed government and industry leaders.
In attendance to watch the presentations and competition was Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.
“Through programs and partnerships such as P2P: Challenging Extremism, we have the ability to reach out and connect with individuals and groups to which our Department might not usually have access,” said Deputy Secretary Mayorkas. “I congratulate all of the teams for their hard work and innovative ideas, and for challenging their peers to raise their voices and push back against violence and hate in our communities. Over the last year the Department of Homeland Security has worked to build trust and relationships across the country and to find innovative ways to support those seeking to discourage violent extremism in our communities. We look forward to building on partnerships such as those made through P2P: Challenging Extremism.”
Final placement for the Facebook Global Digital Challenge:
- Turku School of Economics (Turku, Finland)
- Gulf University for Science and Technology (Kuwait City, Kuwait)
- University of Arkansas, Little Rock (Little Rock, Arkansas, United States)
Top teams won scholarship awards of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 to correspond with their placement.
For highlights from the top campaigns and additional information about the ongoing P2P:Challenging Extremism initiative, visit www.edventurepartners.com/peer2peer