On July 29, John Monahan, Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute at the time, delivered a presentation on the phenomenon of “imported conflict” at a conference entitled Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK, and the US in Washington D.C. Organized by the United States’ Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, the conference brought together key scholars and civil society actors from the three countries to discuss recent and current research on the topic. John’s presentation was part of discussions about building resilience within immigrant communities.
Drawing on the Mosaic Institute’s 2014 imported conflict report and on some of the Institute’s current research work, John’s presentation focused on the importance of social inclusion as a fundamental element of social cohesion and public safety.
John highlighted findings of the 2014 report that show that Canada is not “importing” violent conflict when immigrants move here, and that Canadian multiculturalism, despite its many issues, can actually contribute to increased resiliency among newcomers to Canada, particularly for those with connections to conflict areas of the world. In part, this is because the ethno-cultural diversity found in many parts of Canada allows newcomers to be exposed to other narratives of conflict, helping them “reframe” their understanding of the conflicts that forced them to leave their countries of origin.  Canada’s firm commitment to human rights and the rule of law are also factors in helping newcomers see the conflicts to which they are connected in different ways.
In this sense, diversity and integration policies that seek to truly include newcomers into their new society, and that work to address barriers to inclusion, can have positive, stabilizing effects in terms of systemic social cohesion and resiliency.
The Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK, and the US conference also focused on areas such as violent extremism in different contexts, current practices used to address this phenomenon, and counter narratives to radicalization. The Mosaic Institute was proud to contribute its research to this important international conversation about how to create and sustain safer societies for everyone.