Students from Slovak high schools graduated from 2nd year of Summer School: Young Against Extremism and Radicalism

Slovak Security Policy Institute with the support of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak republic, Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung and NATO PDD has organised during June 22–24, 2018 in Banská Štiavnica a second year of Summer School: Young Against Extremism and Radicalism.

The discussions and trainings, with the participation of almost thirty students from all over Slovakia, focused on alarming problem of rising extremism and radicalism in Slovak society.

The three-day event in the beautiful setting of Banská Štiavnica was opened by the Director of SSPI Jaroslav Naď, Ján Lunter – Chairman of Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region and Robert Žanony from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

The opening remarks were followed by a lecture on “Extremism once and today”  by a history teacher and activist Juraj Smatana. An introductory lecture of this event has already sparked a discussion among the students about the state of the contemporary society.

The next day, was full of exciting themes prepared for the students. First lecture of the day included famous stand-up comedian and screenwriter Ján Gordulič who spoke to students with a lecture on “False news, hoaxes and propaganda” which in a humorous way taught students about how fake news and hoaxes work.

Later, Ondrej Gažovič – lector of critical thinking – prepared practical exercises for students in his workshop “Critical thinking” .  As an example, participants could actively try to critically work with articles published by the media, they were taught where to look for signs of manipulation or misleading and how to verify facts. In smaller groups, they tried how different types of media present the same topic.

The afternoon program was led by Dušan Ondrušek – a coach and facilitator of the OZ Partners for Democratic Change in Slovakia. He took part in training on “Radicalization: How to effectively defend yourself?”  Mr. Ondrušek had a discussion with students about radicalization and about successful and unsuccessful cases of deradicalization. Students could then experience how the debate manipulation techniques work and how they make it impossible to hold a normal discussion.

On the last day, more on the most widespread myths about the European Union, NATO, and about Slovak membership in these organisations, were presented  in a lecture “TOP 10 Slovak Myths and Disinformations”  by Peter Bátor, Head of the Security Policy Department and Councillor in the Office of the President of the Slovak Republic.

Graduating from Summer School, students received certificates and proposed the creation of online platform where they could jointly share their knowledge and experience even after the Summer School.