Berlin Autumn Talks 2019

"Escaping the Spiral of Violence: Prevention of Radicalization in Eastern and Western Europe"


28th November 2019, 13.30-22.00

Rotes Rathaus Berlin, Rathausstraße 15, 10178 Berlin
Barrier-free entrence: Jüdenstraße, 10178 Berlin

Subject of the "Autumn Talks" 2019

“Escaping the Spiral of Violence: Prevention of Radicalization in Eastern and Western Europe

Politically or religiously motivated acts of violence regularly dominate media reports. Debates in European societies appear increasingly polarized; various groups are radicalizing along internal and intersocietal lines of conflict. Against this backdrop, the 24th Berlin Autumn Talks inquires after the causes and possible solutions to these societal challenges and are dedicated to the lessons learned from approaches to prevention of radicalization  in Eastern and Western Europe. The conference is aimed at Eastern European experts, representatives from European civil society, as well as an interested public. In parallel fishbowl discussions, current aspects of radicalization tendencies will be examined in more detail as well as the needs, possibilities and limitations of various actors in prevention of radicalization. The cross-border exchange of experience should serve the furthering of knowledge to strengthen prevention work, the formulation of a common strategy, as well as the establishment of cooperation in the field of work.


Programme "Autumn Talks" 2019

Program: Wednesday, 28th November 2019



Guest Registration

[whole day exhibition by Dmitriy Ligay, Tashkent]






Opening and Greetings

Room: Großer Saal; Simultaneous translation: DE/ENG/RU

  • Stefan Melle, Executive Director DRA e.V., Berlin
  • Dirk Wiese, Member of the Bundestag, Coordinator for inter-societal cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the countries of the Eastern Partnership, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
  • Walter Kaufmann, Division Head Eastern and South Eastern Europe, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin
















Opening Statement and Audience Discussion: Prevention as a societal development task

Room: Großer Saal; Simultaneous translation: DE/ENG/RU

Acts of violence have devastating consequences for the individuals involved, public security and social cohesion. They have a signalling effect in society and can lead to a negative escalation spiral. Therefore, in addition to security measures and legal sanctions, there must also be competent prevention work. It can be understood not least as an approach to social conflict regulation. The introductory statement will firstly outline central terms, causes and catalysers for radicalization from a scientific point of view. It will then be shown, from a civil society perspective, what social challenges are currently confronting Eastern and Western Europe and what contribution prevention of radicalization can make to a non-violent and communal coexistence.


  • Dr. Julian Junk, Head of the Leibniz Research Group „Radicalization“, Peace Research Institut Frankfurt (PRIF),Head of the Berlin Office of PRIF, Berlin

Reactions from East and West European civil society

  • Dr. Harald Weilnböck, cultures interactive e.V., Berlin
  • Dr. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia,  Executive Director Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre (CAPC), Russia

Moderation: Dr. Gesine Dornblüth, Journalist, Texte und Toene, Berlin


Break for Networking


Parallel discussion forums: Fishbowl format


















Forum 1: The development of prevention work in France, Germany and Russia – Prevention between state and civil society

Room: Großer Saal; Simultaneous translation: DE/ENG/RU

How radicalization is dealt with depends to a large extent on the political, social and cultural context. Whilst the ‘hard power’ of the security services seeks to prevent extremist violent crimes through legal means, it is through the ‘soft power’ of pedagogical approaches that the processes of radicalization should be prevented. Alongside state-only prevention projects, state-civil society collaborations are also widespread. Yet, the significance and effectiveness of prevention work is often controversial. In the fishbowl format, the development of current areas of tension in prevention work in France, Germany and Russia will be tracked. With a look to future challenges, the question will be discussed as to how, and with the involvement of which actors in each of the contexts, prevention work can be designed.


  • Michaela Glaser, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Center of Competence for Social Intervention Research, Frankfurt
  • Dr. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, Executive Director Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre (CAPC), Russia
  • Aleksandr Chunin, Head of the Department of the National Centre for Combating Terrorism and Extremism in the education sector and on the Internet, Rostov-on-Don
  • Sulaymân Valsan, research officer at PREVA.NET, Association for the prevention of Violent Extremism, Paris

Moderation: Prof. Peter Rieker, Professor of Extracurricular Education, University of Zurich














Forum 2: Challenges for prevention workers in urban and rural contexts – psychological, ethnic and religious aspects

Room: 300 (Hermann-Waesemann-Saal); Simultaneous translation: DE/ENG

Work in the field of prevention has professionalized over the past decades. The actors are specialists from various fields: social workers, psychotherapists, human rights activists, coaches etc. They take on a significant and ever-increasing role in prevention work, a role that previously used to fall within the competence of the state and religious institutions. What are the special challenges to prevention work in the context of modern cities and rural areas? What is the role of traditional institutions in prevention today?


  • Dr. Viacheslav Polosin, religious scholar, deputy director „ Fund for Support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education”, Moscow
  • Bartolomeo Conti, Research Centre for Social Developments (CEMS), EHESS, Paris
  • Oliver Kossack, cultures interactive e.V., Berlin/Frankfurt(Oder)
  • Rüstü Aslandur, Chairman of the German-speaking association of Muslim, Karlsruhe

Moderation: Hans Goldenbaum, specialist and counselling centre SALAM Saxony-Anhalt, Halle













Forum 3: Prevention methods in the digital age

Room: 337 (Louise-Schroeder-Saal); Simultaneous translation: DE/RU

The internet offers cross-border opportunities for the expression and influencing of individual and collective opinions. Parallel to the expansion and professionalization of extremist propaganda on the internet, security experts are observing a trend towards the individualization of violent acts with an extremist background. The fishbowl forum will discuss which tactics and recruitment strategies radical movements are currently using. How can preventive measures effectively react to these developments, what lessons have already been learned?


  • Dennis Rosenbaum, VAJA e.V. Streetwork, Bremen
  • Jakob Guhl, Extremism researcher, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, London
  • Renat Muzaferov, research associate at Resource Centre for Islamic Education Development at the Institute of International Relations of Kazan Federal University, Kazan

Moderation: Dr. Evgeniya Sayko, Founder demoSlam – new dialogue format, Berlin


Evening Snack














Closing discussion: Strengthening prevention work – strategies and possibilities for cooperation between Eastern and Western Europe

Room: Großer Saal; Simultaneous translation: DE/ENG/RU

Based on the preceding outlines of the issues, the question of how prevention of radicalization can succeed in different political, social and cultural contexts will be discussed. Which strategies for strengthening prevention work can be developed according to the possibilities, limits and needs of different actors? What opportunities does international cooperation offer for developing effective prevention work?


  • Dr. Harald Weilnböck, cultures interactive e.V., Berlin
  • Thomas Hoffmann, Executive Director of the foundation „German-Russian Youth Exchange“, Hamburg
  • Prof. Lida Kurbanova, Professor of Sociology at the Chechen State University, Grozny
  • Prof. James Hughes, Professor of Comparative Politics, London School of Economics, London

Moderation: Dr. Gesine Dornblüth, Journalist, Texte und Toene, Berlin


Summary and Closing Remarks


Reception and Get together




Rewiew of the "Autumn Talks" 2019

24th Berlin Autumn Talks at the Red Townhall (Rotes Rathaus): international exchange on prevention of radicalization

On 28 November, the Berlin Autumn Talks took place at the Red Townhall Berlin (Rotes Rathaus), which are organized by DRA for the 24th time and are dedicated to political and social issues that change from year to year. Under the title "Escaping the Spiral of Violence: Prevention of Radicalization in Eastern and Western Europe", this year's conference offered a rare opportunity to discuss this highly relevant issue from a comparative European perspective. The conference was part of the multiplier project "Strengthening Prevention of Radicalization in the North Caucasus and Tatarstan", which the DRA is implementing with the participation of Russian and French partners from 2019-2020 with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

The prevention work at the conference was discussed primarily under the three following aspects: cooperation between state and civil society, different contexts of urban and rural areas, and new challenges posed by digitization. Within three Fishbowl forums, where the circle of discussants changed again and again, around 200 visitors were able to put their positions up for debate and exchange views on problem understanding and preventive approaches for the solutions in different political, social and cultural contexts. In addition, the conference brought together several professional groups concerned with the topic and identified the necessities and opportunities for international cooperation. A film accompanying the conference will soon be available on the DRA website.

The public conference was followed on 29 November by a round table at which several of the conference speakers from Germany, France and Great Britain, 20 project multipliers from Russia, as well as representatives of the DRA and the project partners from France and Russia discussed in depth deradicalization approaches and the way society deals with ideologically based acts of violence.

Although religious or politically motivated acts of violence are relatively rare in Europe, their impact on society is often profound and can exacerbate conflicts between social groups. A complex understanding of the problem is one of the basic prerequisites for successful prevention work that reduces social risks. This year's international Berlin Autumn Talks were able to make a contribution to this.

We would like to thank all conference attendees, the participating experts as well as the donors and supporters - the German Federal Foreign Office, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the ZEIT Foundation and the Berlin Senate Chancellery - for the opportunity to expand the professional exchange and multilateral cooperation on prevention of radicalization across borders with the help of the conference.

Photo gallery


Rüstü Aslandur

Rüstü Aslandur is chairman of the German-speaking association of Muslim in Karlsruhe. He worked for many years in different international Muslim aid organization. Since 2013 he is social worker in the field of youth and family welfare (e.g. with young refugees). Currently in education to become a "communal counsellor for prevention of extremism". Founding member and chairman of various Muslim associations since 1986. Speaker and author on Islamic-theological topics, Muslims in German society and interreligious dialogue. Since 2010 member of the committee Migration in Karlsruhe.

Alexander Chunin

Alexander Chunin is Head of the Department of the National Centre for Combating Terrorism and Extremism in Education and on the Internet. The Centre's aim is not only to monitor the Internet for illegal content, but also to actively shape public opinion. It uses the same technologies that extremists use today to minimize their popular support. Preventive work plays an important role here. He believes that the most important direction in the context of extremism is not struggle, but preventive work.

Bartolomeo Conti

Sociologist at the «Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales» (EHESS) in Paris, where he obtained his PhD in Sociology in 2011, with a thesis on the rise of Islam in Italian public sphere. In 2015 he participated in a research project on the Islamist radicalization in French prisons, with the aim of elaborating methods and tools for the social reinsertion of young radicalized people. In 2017, Dr. Conti has started to work on a European Horizon 2020 project ‘Dialogue About Radicalization And Equality’, that explores how and why young people are radicalized.

Dr. Gesine Dornblüth

Dr. Gesine Dornblüth, radio journalist (Texte und Toene journalist office, Berlin). 2012 - 2017 correspondent for Deutschlandradio in Moscow. Slavonic studies in Hamburg. PhD about Andrej Voznesenskij. Since the beginning of the 90s reportage trips to Eastern Europe / the former Soviet Union. Author for Deutschlandfunk and ARD: Political analyses, commentaries, reportages, long-term documentaries. Winner of the "Prix Europa" (together with Thomas Franke).

Michaela Glaser

Michaela Glaser, M.A. Sociology / Political Science. First professional experience in the field of social urban development, political education and evaluation; from 2003 to 2019 advicer and from 2011 to the beginning of 2018 director of the Research Institute for Right-Wing Extremism and Prevention of Radicalization at the German Youth Institute. Since summer 2019 coordination of a biographical research project about young people, who turn to radical interpretations of Islam at the Frankfurt University of Applied Science.

Jacob Guhl

Jakob Guhl is Coordinator (Policy & Research) at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in London. He works primarily with the Digital Research Team and the Online Civil Courage Initiative, a project aimed at improving and promoting civil society responses to hate speech and extremism on the Internet. Jakob Guhl researches reciprocal radicalization between right-wing extremists and Islamists, coordinated trolling campaigns, hate speech and disinformation campaigns.

Prof. James Hughes

James Hughes is Professor of Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics, UK. He specialises in the analysis of contemporary political violence and terrorism, including internal armed conflicts and civil wars. His books include “Chechnya. From Nationalism to Jihad” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), “EU Conflict Management” (Routledge, 2010), and “Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After conflict” (Routledge, 2019).

Dr. Julian Junk

Dr. Julian Junk is head of the Leibniz Research Group "Radicalization" at the Leibnitz Association Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and head of the Berlin office of PRIF. He is project leader of numerous research projects in the field of radicalization research, including "Society Extreme: Radicalization and Deradicalization in Germany" and "Salafism in Germany". Previously, he was a research associate at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and at the University of Konstanz as well as a guest researcher at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the Columbia University in New York amongst others. Julian Junk is also lecturer at the University of Lucerne and the Free University of Berlin.

Thomas Hoffmann

Thomas Hoffmann studied Eastern European History and Slavic Philology in Münster. From 2001 he was Head of Department and later Director of the youth association "djo-German Youth in Europe". He supported the association of young migrants in Germany in Migrant youth Self-organizations (MJSO). With the project "Youth 2014", he succeeded in getting a number of MJSOs included in the regular funding scheme at federal level. He represented the German Federal Youth Council in the German-Russian Youth Council and organized bilateral and trilateral youth conferences in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. Since 2013 he is Director of the German-Russian Youth Exchange Foundation.

Oliver Kossack

Oliver Kossack works at cultures interactive e.V. in Berlin as project manager in various projects for the promotion of human rights and democratic attitudes as well as the prevention of misanthropy, discrimination and right-wing extremism in Germany and Europe. He is also doing his doctorate at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) on the theme of participation of right-wing extremist parties in government in Central and Eastern Europe.

Prof. Lida Kurbanova

Lida Kurbanova is Doctor of Sociology and Professor of Theory and Methods of Social Work at the Faculty of Law at the State Chechen University. Lida Kurbanova is an expert at the NGO "Women for Development" in Chechen Republic. Her research focuses on gender issues in the Northern Caucasus and the process of developing the causes and manifestations of terrorism and extremism among young women. She is author of numerous publications on the topic of radicalization of women and a participant at nationwide and international gender congresses.

Renat Muzaferov

Renat Muzaferov is research associate at the Resource Centre for Islamic Education Development at the Institute of International Relations of Kazan Federal University. In 2010, he graduated the Russian Islamic University with a degree in Imam Hatiyb. His main focus lies on the prevention of religiously motivated extremism and terrorism in the Muslim community, e.g. with the help of through thematic lectures and seminars on educational projects and the creation of alternative Internet content.

Prof. Peter Rieker

Diplom sociologist, Dr. phil. habil., Professor for Extracurricular Education and Education at the Institute for Educational Science at the University of Zurich. Main areas of work: Deviating behaviour and extremism among young people as well as their prevention, migration and interethnic contacts, methods of empirical social research.

Dennis Rosenbaum

Dennis Rosenbaum (Social Worker/-Pedagogue and Administrative Economist), works for the association for the promotion of accepting youth work (VAJA) in Bremen. In addition, he is amongst others youth protection expert and chairman of the examination committees of the voluntary self-regulation body of the film industry (FSK) in Wiesbaden and federal state observer of the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) in Bonn. He is the author of numerous publications. His work priorities are (outreached) youth work, prevention of right-wing extremism, advice for parents and relatives as well as media education and youth media protection.

Dr. Evgeniya Sayko

Dr. Evgeniya Sayko - PhD in Cultural Studies, co-founder of Science Slams in Russia, board member of the German-Russian Forum. She developed an alternative format of dialogue on conflict topics demoSlam ( within the framework of the project "Discourse on values with Russia: clarify, formulate, transmit" at the Incubator of Social Innovations of the Hertie-Innovationskolleg Foundation in Berlin. Since 2018, she hosted German-Russian demoSlam in both countries.  "Magnet - Workshop for communication" gUG.

Dr. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia

Dr. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia is the founder and director at Conflict analysis and prevention centre which aims to provide field-based analysis of armed conflicts, ethnic and religious tensions and human rights situation in Russia, the post-Soviet space and beyond. From 2011 to 2017, she worked at the International Crisis Group’s Russia/North Caucasus. From 2008-2011, Sokirianskaia established and supervised the work of Memorial human rights center’s new regional offices in Kabardino-Balkariya and Dagestan. She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and reports on human rights, security, conflict, and prevention of violent extremism in the North Caucasus and Russia.

Sulaymân Valsan

Sulaymân Valsan holds a Master degree in Expertise and cooperation in Education and training from Paris-Sorbonne University. He has been working as a trainer in the prevention of radicalisation leading to violence in collaboration with several French public administrations since 2014. He is author of various publications in the field of violent extremism.

Dr. Harald Weilnböck

Dr. habil. Harald Weilnböck (Ph.D.) has conducted researches in Berlin, New Haven, Los Angeles, Paris and Zurich in the fields of qualitative media/cultural and social psychology. He co-founded Cultures Interactive e.V., built up with others the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and works as a practitioner, researcher and psychotherapist in the field of intensive educational prevention of extremism. "European Fair Skills - Prevention in Eastern Europe" (EFS), "CEE Prevent Net - Intolerance and Group Hatred in Central and Eastern Europe", "RAN Derad Daclaration of Good Practice". Publications on,,


Funded by: Federal Foreign Office, Heinrich Böll Foundation, ZEIT Foundation, Senate of Berlin





Kirsten Heyerhoff
Project Manager Autumn Talks 2019
+49 (0) 30 4466 80 12