STARTing to Understand: What is Radicalization, and How Can We Prevent It?



While there are a variety of reasons people may choose not to educate themselves on the issue of violent extremism, we think that, for the most part, it probably comes down to the same two underlying issues: time and money. We barely have the time or energy to focus on our most important priorities, much less to put effort into learning about something we feel doesn’t directly affect us. The Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) understand this and seem to have come up with a creative solution. 

Developed by the START, and funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Training and Education Division, an online training is available to PR practitioners, law enforcement officials, school officials and community leaders, where they are given access to the latest research and resources related to radicalization to violence and violent extremism in the United States. The course is free, and participants have the freedom to move through the four-hour course at their own pace.

The name of the course is “Community-led Action in Response to Violent Extremism,” or “CARVE,” and it was designed to provide credible, research-based, community-focused information on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). So, in addition to being exposed to academically-informed instruction on how to identify and prevent violent extremism, participants are also introduced to a number of community-led activities where they can use what they’ve learned to promote knowledge-sharing among the members of their community. The curriculum includes a pre- and post-test, video lectures, infographics, ungraded knowledge checks, supplemental reading and links to additional resources.

CARVE is made available through the University of Maryland’s Canvas Catalog and can be accessed through START’s website at: You can also follow this link to enroll.

Countering violent extremism is a highly politicized and complicated issue – one that can be kind of tricky to navigate. But, by being proactive in our efforts to learn more about it (taking this training, for example), we are taking a step toward being able to engage with this controversial and emotionally-charged subject-matter with confidence. We encourage you to take advantage of this free, time-flexible course. Challenge a friend to take it, too, and check in with them afterward to talk about what you’ve learned and if/how your perspectives have changed. We might all be a little surprised by what we find.

-MEtoWE Campaign Team