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Professor Grossman joins EU project exploring religious diversity, radicalisation

Professor Grossman joins EU project exploring religious diversity, radicalisation

Professor Michele Grossman will serve as the Australian partner on a multi-million dollar global research project investigating what Europe can learn from other parts of the world about governing religious diversity and preventing radicalisation.

Professor Michele Grossman, Research Chair in Diversity and Community Resilience at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), joins other chief investigators on an international, 10-partner consortium recently awarded a prestigious European Commission Horizon 2020 research grant.

The €2.2 million (AU$3.5 million) grant, “Radicalisation, Secularism and the Governance of Religion: Bringing Together European and Asian Perspectives”, will fund research over 3.5 years to help strengthen Europe’s position in the global context by investigating how religious diversity is governed in 23 nations around the world.

The research project will explore European and non-European states’ governance of religious diversity and the prevention of religiously-inspired or attributed radicalisation on a global scale, focusing on what European countries might learn from other states and regions on these issues.

Professor Michele Grossman, Research Chair in Diversity and Community Resilience

Professor Grossman said the project would compare norms, laws and practices that may or may not prove useful in preventing radicalisation.

“This highly competitive grant is very valuable because of its global scale and impact,” she said.

“Our research will shed light on how different societies cope with the challenge of integrating religious minorities and migrants and living successfully with cultural and religious diversity and mobility. The aim is to deepen our understanding of how religious diversity can be governed successfully, with an emphasis on countering radicalisation trends.

“Collaboration on international research projects such as this allows us to share our ideas and experiences, as well as build strong relationships with experts and policy-makers across the globe.”

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research program aims to link scientific expertise with diplomacy and political influence to tackle major global challenges, promote knowledge and improve international relations through science, diplomacy and intercultural relations.

The Horizon 2020 grant and project team will be led by Professor Anna Triandafyllidou of the Global Governance Program, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence.

As the only Australian partner on the project, Professor Grossman will join senior researchers from Italy, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Germany, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and India, all of whom bring their own diverse experience and expertise to the research.

“A key focus of this research project will be to investigate the paradox that is increased religiously-inspired or attributed radicalisation in the context of tensions between growing global secularism on the one hand and resurgent religious identities and affiliations on the other,” Professor Grossman said.

“Increased connectivity and mobility, widening inequalities, and the re-emergence of nationalism all play their part in this phenomenon, but to what extent, and how, should states and communities be responding to this?

“We also consider critically the oversimplified claim that migrant integration in Europe has failed because second generation youths have become marginalised and radicalised, exploring this from both policy and inter-cultural perspectives.”

Professor Grossman’s expertise in is community cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism. She also leads ADI’s Addressing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation to Terrorism Research Network (AVERT), which was launched in April 2018.

Professor Grossman has been appointed as a Robert Schuman Fellow with the European University Institute as part of her role in the Horizon 2020 project, which is scheduled for completion in March of 2022.

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