Roundtable discussion on Educating for the Middle Way: Social Capital for Peaceful Relations

Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:00 in Discussion Forums

Date: Thursday, 2nd April 2020
Time: 13:00-14:30


  • Prof Mike Hardy, Executive Director, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University


This brief talk focuses on strategies within education which could interrupt the spread of violent extremism. It does so in full recognition of the complexities surrounding this challenge -and the huge temptation to identify a singular root cause of such behaviour and jump in with an equally singular educational solution. In an age of turbulence, of rapid change and human insecurity, all systems must adapt and respond and this includes education systems. I consider three interrelated issues: the context of change and insecurity, including the clear and present danger of violent extremism, education systems and the potential of focusing on social capital.


Professor Hardy is Chair of Intercultural Relations and a founding Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace, and Social Relations at Coventry University. Professor Hardy leads on the University’s academic interface with the UN System.

Mike is a Board Director and Chair of the International Leadership Association ( and is a trustee of The Faith and Belief Forum ( the leading interfaith charity in the UK. Mike was trained as an economist and led economics departments at both Leeds and Central Lancashire Universities; he was a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. From 1995 until 2011, with diplomatic and advisory roles with UK Government, Mike was a Senior Director with the British Council with responsibilities, among others, for the Council’s global cultural relations programme for intercultural and interfaith dialogue, youth engagement and so-called ‘soft-power’ global strategic partnerships; his diplomatic work included overseas postings, in Egypt, East Jerusalem and Indonesia.

He is the lead advisor to and a member of the governing task force of the World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue with UNESCO and Government of Azerbaijan and a consortium of international organisations including UNAoC, FAO, Council of Europe, ISESCO for OIC, and WTO. He directs the RISING Global Peace Forum at Coventry (

With his wealth of experience and specific interest in diversity and cultural exchange, Dr Hardy has been established as one of the leading experts in this field. He was appointed as lead expert for “Identity” for the Vodafone-sponsored new Future-Agenda Initiative. Mike continues to contribute to national and international conferences, global discussions, and applied research in multiculturalism, intercultural dialogue, and diversity. In 2011, he was invited to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, and in 2012 was appointed to act as special adviser on intercultural dialogue to the Azerbaijan Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dr Garayev Aboulfas.

Professor Hardy has been twice honoured in the UK, awarded the OBE in 2001 for his peace-building work in the Middle East, and appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours June 2010 for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue.

His published work reflects his interest in the behavioural aspects of building safe and resilient communities -in identity: Future: Next Exit (2009) and Future Agenda- the World in 2020 (2010), in innovation and vulnerability: Inclusive Innovation for Sustainable Development (2016). London: Palgrave, in protective security: Decision-Theoretic Behavioural Analytics: Risk Management and Terrorist Intensity (Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression (RIRT) (2018); New Understandings and Methods for Counter Terrorism Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression (RIRT 2018); Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism (with others (2017), Sydney Technical University and in intercultural dialogue: Dialogue, Conflict and Transformation: Concepts and Context (2017) UNESCO. Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd published his prize-winning co-edited volume Muslim Identity in a Turbulent Age: Islamic Extremism and Western Islamaphobia in January 2017 currently in translation to Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia. Mike’s latest book project, Dialogue at the Edge (due 2020) charts the growth, role and significance of intercultural dialogue and cultural pluralism for global peaceful relations.