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Towards peace and security: Conference on combatting terrorism

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Panel of experts and specialists leading the conversation on strategies to combat terrorism.

Michelle Cameron, the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, opening roundtable discussions on combatting terrorism.

Building awareness is a critical first step to combatting terrorism. The Embassy of Canada to Lebanon hosted a conference to share knowledge and learn from experts on how to counter the complex threats of terrorism. The conference, entitled “Terrorism and the Indoctrination of Foreign Fighters,” was hosted in partnership with Antonine University and with support from the Lebanese Ministry of Culture.

The conference focused on several aspects of terrorism such as its origins, indoctrination, recruitment strategies, communication, means of fighting and effect on national security. With over 200 attendees, including ambassadors, politicians, journalists, security officials, students, teachers, and academics, the two roundtable discussions were insightful and engaging.

Terrorism: A global challenge

Counter-terrorism requires effective international cooperation and coordination, therefore Canada works to develop legal instruments, best practices and international standards to combat terrorism.

Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Michelle Cameron, launched the roundtable discussions by highlighting Canada’s leading role in promoting peace and security worldwide. Among the notable speakers was Jocelyn Bélanger, Professor of Psychology from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Prof. Bélanger offered insights on his research, which focuses on human judgement, the psychology of terrorism and the development of beliefs.

Prof. Bélanger led a captivating discussion on both the radicalization and deradicalization processes of terrorism. According to him, radicalization is a motivational phenomenon that is intensified by social networks. The process leads to the adoption of a system of beliefs based on intolerance, hatred, dehumanization and violence.

Prof. Bélanger also outlined how de-radicalization works to unravel the radicalization process. In this context, deradicalization is a process that seeks to reform terrorists through reconciliation and reintegration plans. In Montreal, he is working to launch the first deradicalization centre of its kind, which will work on prevention against radicalization as well as reforming radicalized individuals.

Audience members responding to speeches.

Other speakers at the conference included Colonel Yusuf al-Chidiac from Lebanese State Security; Dr. Sami Richa, Chief of Psychiatry Service at St Joseph University; Dr. Ahmad Mousalli from American University of Beirut; and Mr. Marwan Hayek from Alfa Telecom.

The conference served as an important opportunity to generate discussion and forward-thinking on issues related to the long-term global challenge of terrorism. It also underscored Canada’s commitment to fight terrorism and securing peace and stability in the Middle East.


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