This timely special issue looks at a current pressing societal challenge that is truly global in its existence but very local in the way it plays out in various geographical, social and political contexts. Terrorism and extremism are undoubtedly among the biggest problems the world is facing today and is leaving in its wake a trail of death and destruction where the human and social costs are perhaps more significant than wars fought between countries on the world stage. These realities breed suspicion, hatred and feelings of revenge and invariably result in a spiral of violence that seemingly has no end. Not only is there a need to explore the various factors leading to violent youth radicalisation, it is clear that young people need to be considered not as victims ‘at risk’ but rather as responsible agents of positive change.
This issue focuses on violent youth radicalisation in the context of Professor Gavrielides’ ‘The Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP)’ which looked at the problem of violent youth radicalisation across seven European Countries. The project sought to propose a uniquely different way of combatting violent youth radicalisation by proposing an alternative to punitive means so often favoured by governments. That alternative proposed was to use Positive psychology and the Good Lives model to intervene with young people at risk of violent radicalisation focusing on positive identity and well-being on the premise that young people who had a positive view of themselves would be less likely to be drawn into violent radicalisation.