Report from Bosnia: Why "Top-Down Education" Isn't Winning the Battle for Hearts | Teachers College Columbia University

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Report from Bosnia: Why "Top-Down Education" Isn't Winning the Battle for Hearts and Minds

 

Writing in The Huffington Post, Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Senior Research Scientist in TC's Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, argues that an ultra-conservative branch of Islam is outflanking joint efforts between the United States, the Bosnian state and the official Bosnian Islamic leadership to inculcate democratic values. Noting that U.S. efforts center on creating schools and training teachers, Sabic-El-Rayess says "we build institutions to propagate our values, but these buildings and institutions are hollow compared to the heart-to-heart pedagogy" that the ultra-conservatives direct 24/7 at the most marginalized groups in society.

"To reverse this highly personalized radicalization, we must join forces with more moderate Islamic communities, like the one in Bosnia, to jointly develop our own de-radicalizing education model," she writes. "We cannot wage this “hearts and minds” battle with bombs and bombast from on high.  Or we will continue to fight an un-winnable war for we have failed to decode the mindset of our common enemy."

Published Monday, Jun 20, 2016

Amra Sabic-Ed-Rayess

Amra Sabic-Ed-Rayess

TC's Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

 

Writing in The Huffington Post, Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Senior Research Scientist in TC's Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, argues that an ultra-conservative branch of Islam is outflanking joint efforts between the United States, the Bosnian state and the official Bosnian Islamic leadership to inculcate democratic values. Noting that U.S. efforts center on creating schools and training teachers, Sabic-El-Rayess says "we build institutions to propagate our values, but these buildings and institutions are hollow compared to the heart-to-heart pedagogy" that the ultra-conservatives direct 24/7 at the most marginalized groups in society.

"To reverse this highly personalized radicalization, we must join forces with more moderate Islamic communities, like the one in Bosnia, to jointly develop our own de-radicalizing education model," she writes. "We cannot wage this “hearts and minds” battle with bombs and bombast from on high.  Or we will continue to fight an un-winnable war for we have failed to decode the mindset of our common enemy."

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