Events, News

Young Aussies, digital industry and Australian Government partner to counter extremism

Sydney 27 June

A partnership between the Australian Government and the digital industry will see 100 young changemakers gather in Sydney today to explore and counter hate and extremism at the youth summit DIGI Engage: Bringing people together across divides

Over two days, participants from around Australia who applied to take part will learn from each other and a line-up of international and local speakers about the root causes of societal polarisation, hate speech and extremism. They will also workshop strategies to effectively build bridges offline and online in the face of social division, such as empathy and effective counterspeech. 

DIGI Engage’s keynote address will be delivered by Arno Michaelis, the former founding member of what became the largest racist skinhead organisation in the world, who has since dedicated his life to helping people overcome far-right extremism and a co-founder of the peacebuilding organisation Serve 2 Unite

“DIGI Engage is a brilliant example of what human beings can accomplish when we’re not terrified of each other. Leveraging technology to propagate stories that heal and uplift is the best defence against the fear and ignorance that compose hate. I’m honored and inspired to wage peace alongside my fellow presenters and this group of amazing young people striving to make the world a better place.” Arno Michaelis said.

DIGI Engage is hosted by The Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI), and is supported by the Australian Government as part of a partnership that is now in its third year. 

“Through DIGI Engage, we’re working to empower young people from all around the country to be a powerful unifying force in their communities in the face of issues that may otherwise divide people,” DIGI Managing Director Sunita Bose said.

“Technology has an unparalleled power to bring people together across distance, but it can also be used to drive people apart through extreme content.

“Hate speech and extremism are highly complex issues both offline and online, and governments, industry and the community all have crucial roles to play in addressing them — bringing everyone together to develop and listen to solutions is what we’re working to do through DIGI Engage.”

This year’s DIGI Engage will have skills-building workshops from leading social campaigners, Nadir Nahdi, online content creator & founder of YouTube channel BENI, Melinda Tually, head of Fashion Revolution in Australia and NZ, and Indigenous campaigner Cheree Toka