The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is an international hub that fosters and coordinates effective responses to violent and non-violent extremism. It is at the centre of a range of European and global networks, including governments, the private sector, former extremists, frontline workers and community activists. ISD’s Counter-Extremism programme enhances understanding of the causes and drivers of extremism; delivers tangible solutions in partnership with practitioners; improves understanding of what works by providing platforms for sharing good practice and lessons learned; and spearheads efforts to push back on extremist propaganda and online messaging.
The FREE Initiative has been made possible with the financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme of the European Union European Commission – Directorate-General Home Affairs.
Vidhya is Director of The FREE Initiative, and oversees its network of over 200 activists, practitioners and policy makers.
She is also co-founder and Director of Moonshot CVE, a new social enterprise specialising in data-driven innovation to counter extremism. Vidhya was previously Senior Fellow on Far-Right Extremism and Intolerance at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, where she oversaw an EU-funded programme of research and advocacy on far-right extremism across the European Union.
Vidhya can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neil is a Consultant on the FREE Initiative. He works to deliver practical solutions to tackle far-right extremism to a wider audience. Neil is training to become a teacher, and holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London.
Lewis supports the FREE Initiative, and was formerly a volunteer researcher with the Against Violent Extremism (AVE) network. He has a bachelor’s degree in War and Security Studies from the University of Hull, and is a former member of the Lincolnshire Police.
The FREE Initiative is the result of the project Preventing and Countering Far-Right Extremism and Radicalisation: European Cooperation, run by the Swedish Ministry of Justice and ISD, with support from the European Commission. From 2012 – 2014, this project carried out field research visits across 10 countries, and interviewed over 100 inspirational individuals countering the far right. The project produced 10 country context reports, a policy recommendations report, and a practitioners’ handbook. It ran a series of expert sessions and practical workshops to promote cross-country learning. The project has built a long-term network of practitioners, policy makers and experts working to counter far-right extremism.