Empowering Credible Voices to Combat the Message of Violent Extremism

Posted by Richard Stengel
March 16, 2016
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel participates in Twitter Town Hall. [State Department Photo]

Editor's Note: This article is the third installment in a series, as we highlight our Countering Violent Extremism Podcast Initiative.  

It’s no secret that when it comes to countering the propaganda of violent extremists, the U.S. government is not always the best messenger for the message we want to deliver. That’s why our diplomats are using their resources and expertise to empower credible voices around the world and make sure they are heard. As you’ll hear me discuss in the latest episode of our countering violent extremism podcast series, part of our larger counter-ISIL messaging strategy is to help those real voices drown out ISIL.

This fight -– the fight of ideas -– is being waged on a digital battlefield. We have to engage young people where they are -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. The U.S. government can’t simply enlist other governments to support our efforts. We have to engage youth leaders, community leaders and former members of violent extremist groups to help us in telling the story.

In this podcast, “Countering the Message of Violent Extremists,” we explore how the new Global Engagement Center is empowering partners and leading the fight in the messaging war. We’ll also discuss which strategies are most effective in countering ISIL propaganda. In the larger war against groups like ISIL, victory can’t be achieved without effective messaging. And it can’t be won by governments alone. I hope you have a chance to listen, become engaged and arm yourself with information in the effort to push back against false narratives.

What does success look like? It looks like the already small amount of ISIL messaging becomes even smaller, especially when compared to a much larger supply of positive narratives that offer an alternative to violent extremism. Today’s podcast is the continuation of the story of how we get to that point. Thanks for taking the time to listen.   

About the Author: Richard Stengel serves as the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

For more information:

  • Read other DipNote blogs about the United States' efforts to counter violent extremism.
  • Find out how we are forging partnerships with non-state actors, multilateral organizations, and foreign governments to advance the U.S. counterterrorism objectives.
  • Follow the Under Secretary @Stengel on Twitter and read other DipNote blogs from the Under Secretary.


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