Washington, April 8, 2015 - As part of the U.S. State Department's ongoing efforts to counter violent extremism, 11 high-level government representatives from the coalition working to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, began an exchange program this week aimed at discrediting and de-legitimizing ISIL's brand of violent extremism, according to a State Department news release.
The two-week project, "Countering Radical Ideologies," sponsored through the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, encourages international participants and their U.S. counterparts to share best practices and new ways to counter ISIL's messaging.
The State Department said the exchange provides opportunities to enhance international cooperation to counter violent extremism through substantive discussions among the participants and U.S. officials, private sector messaging and branding experts and non-governmental and community actors. Through meetings with leading technology and communications companies, participants will examine ways to strengthen counterterrorism communication activities and associated programs.
"The United States is committed to being a constructive, respectful and committed partner in locally-led efforts to counter ISIL's pseudo-ideology in the Middle East and beyond," the State Department said, adding that "this type of people-to-people diplomacy and outreach is designed to contribute to U.S. and coalition efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL."
The U.S. itinerary includes visits to Washington; New York; and San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Participants are from Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.