UFUNGU (Swahili)

(fungu) [u-/zi-] clan, lineage, key, relation, crucial step

What we want to accomplish

The UFUNGU network is a group of professionals that want to strengthen the resilience to radicalisation & polarisation through the creation of formal & informal networks, providing a platform to share expertise and to stimulate cross-over initiatives & innovations.

We strive to create a multi-agency framework firmly based on the respect of human rights, the rule of law and democratic values and methods.

By building trust, promoting dialogue & fostering solidarity we want to create a more peaceful, more secure and tolerant society.

What we want to do
  • To analyse & promote a better understanding of the complexity of radicalization leading to violent extremism
  • To facilitate multi-agency cooperation & exchanges between actors in the field
  • To advise policy makers & raise awareness for the general public (public debate)
  • To support & empower practitioners, teacher, youth workers, family members, …
  • To take stock of existing approaches (educational, community based, prison based, …)
  • To develop, collect & share state of art expertise in the field of deradicalisation / disengagement practices
  • To define areas of prevention & intervention (schools, prisons, communities, youth environments, …)
  • To identify risk & protective factors (to advance & distribute behavioral based tools like VERA2 etc.);
  • To stimulate innovative tools for deradicalisation / disengagement, based on behavioral science and embedded in human rights framework and historic awareness;
  • To formulate connecting narratives in the light of winning the hearts and the minds (cf. the growth of polaris
  • To strengthen civic responsibility & the promotion of active citizenship
About the EXIT extremism conference

EXIT organizations are not acting in isolation. They can be part of a multi-agency system that is being coordinated by a third party. In setting up multi-agency partnerships it is crucial to have a clear idea of the shared objective and knowing each other’s role and interest in achieving it. This conference series wants to share international expertise in setting up such multi-agency structures and strive for structural quality standards. We welcome all interested security and social partners that are willing to combat radicalisation & polarisation. 

Please click on the registration button and the payment information will be mailed to you. Accredited journalists are welcome but need to register (inform us on your press accreditation). 


contacts with professionals


Keynote speakers

Meet our most valued speakers

Oomar Shariff Mulbocus

Therapist & Behavioural Interventionist

    Lore Colaert

    Flemish Peace Institute

    Researcher ar the Flemish Peace Institute in Brussels

      Robert Örell

      Director at Exit Sweden

      Robert Örell is the director of Exit Sweden.

        Peter Knoope

        Senior Visiting Fellow at ICCT

        Senior Visiting Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT).

          Christian Picciolini

          Exit USA/ Life After Hate

          Co-founder of Life After Hate/ Exit USA.

            Christophe Busch

            Founder UFUNGU

            Christophe Busch is the founder-connector of the UFUNGU network and general director of Kazerne Dossin.

            Paul van Tigchelt

            Director of CUTA

            Paul Van Tigchelt is the director of CUTA, the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis in Belgium.

            Anne Speckhard

            Breaking the ISIS Brand

            Anne Speckhard runs the Breaking the ISIS Brand - ISIS Defectors Interviews Project at ICSVE.


            Program of the EXIT extremism conference series

            What can be done to support a motivated person in leaving an extremist group and (re)integrate him into a democratic society? How do individuals develop an extremist identity and why it is so hard to leave an extremist life behind? Tina Christensen’s lecture is based on research projects investigating engagement in and disengagement from extremist groups. Based on interviews of former extremists and terrorists, her presentation will illustrate how being an extremist involves participation in social environments which promote violence and a black and white thinking. Which issues do former extremists - across different religious and political oriented groups - struggle with after participation?

            Tina Wilchen Christensen

            My own journey has led me to think deeply in how to counter and tackle this ideology, which has taken away many young people around the world. Especially those who are involved in or about to be groomed in to any type of violence and extremism. Drawing from my life experiences, my presentation will explore the factors of similarities and ways of ground operating from the group prospective. As well as, ideological pull factors around young people searching for normality in the current society, it will also explore how young people search for power and status, relating to Dar Ul Harb/ Land of war. It will conclude with an alternate solution, looking at how to deconstruct the red zone area and work towards a transitional road map strategy.

            Oomar Mulbocus

            After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement he helped build in America during the 1980s and 90s, Christian Picciolini earned a degree in international relations from DePaul University. He became a respected entrepreneur, launching Goldmill Group, a global media and counter-extremism consulting firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for his role in directing and producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping youth disengage from white supremacy groups. His life has been dedicated to helping others implement long-term solutions countering racism and violent extremism through such organizations as Life After Hate and ExitUSA. Christian has spoken all over the world, sharing his unique and extensive knowledge, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy. His involvement in the early American neo-Nazi skinhead movement is chronicled in his memoir WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette, 2018).

            Christian Picciolini

            Panel discussion and Q&A with Tina Christensen, Omar Mulbocus and Christian Picciolini

            Welcoming & introduction to the EXIT conference series

            Christophe Busch is the founder-connector of the UFUNGU network on radicalisation & polarisation. Its mission is to challenge the growth of radicalisation & polarisation by providing an expertise framework firmly based on the respect of human rights, the rule of law and democratic values and methods. Since July 2016 he is the general director of Kazerne Dossin, the Holocaust and Human Rights Memorial, Museum and Expertise center in Belgium.

            Christophe Busch

            Since 1 January 2016, Paul van Tigchelt is the director of CUTA, the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis. He is Deputy Attorney General in Antwerp. As the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Minister of the Interior, he was closely involved in the creation of CUTA in 2006. CUTA is an evolving institution, in particular since the events that hit France and Belgium so tragically. It is the responsability of Mr. van Tigchelt to make sure that these new challenges are dealt with in the most effective way.

            Paul Van Tigchelt

            Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Georgetown University, and Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). She currently runs the Breaking the ISIS Brand - ISIS Defectors Interviews Project at ICSVE. Dr. Speckhard has been working in the field of counter-terrorism and psychology since the 1980’s and has extensive experience working in Europe, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

            Anne Speckhard

            Deradicalisation has become a core element in policies to counter violent extremism in many countries. However, these interventions vary enormously along a number of dimensions. This presentation will try to describe and discuss thisvariation in a systematic way in order to learn from previous achievements and mistakes, and understand better the pros and cons of different models. Tore Bjørgo is Director of the Center for Research on Extremism: The Extreme Right, Hate Crime and Political Violence (C‑REX).

            Tore Bjørgo

            Daniel Koehler will introduce different types of deradicalisation and CVE programs, how they function and what their benefits as well as program characteristics are for each target group and user. In addition, the lecture will also talk in detail about structural standards and requirements for effective and high quality CVE programs. He worked as a deradicalisation and family counselor in multiple programs and developed several methodological approaches to deradicalisation. He is also the co-founder of the journal on deradicalisation and Director of the Competence Center for the Coordination of the Prevention Network against (Islamic) Extremism in Baden-Württemberg (KPEBW).

            Daniel Koehler

            D. Elaine Pressman is a Distinguished Senior Fellow and Scientific Expert at the Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychology and Psychology (NIFP) in the Netherlands, a Senior Fellow in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in The Hague. She has been a Subject Matter Expert in risk and threat assessment for the Critical Incident Response Group at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Quantico, Virginia, USA and has trained senior international experts at the FBI National Academy. Dr. Pressman is a recognized international expert in the area of risk assessment of violent political extremism.

            Elaine Pressman

            Rik Coolsaet is Professor emeritus of International Relations at Ghent University (Belgium). He was Chair of the Department of Political Science at Ghent University and is Senior Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute (Royal Institute for International Relations) in Brussels. He was invited to join the original European Commission Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation (established 2006) and is member of the European Network of Experts on Radicalisation (ENER).

            Rik Coolsaet
            No schedule yet.

            Ward Kennes (CD&V) is a Representative in the Flemish Parliament and Mayor of Kasterlee. He is part of the Commission on Violent Extremism, and is one of the petitioners of the resolution on combating violent radicalization, approved in May 2015.

            Ward Kennes

            Flanders has no central exit-organisation or de-radicalisation-centre. However, various initiatives do set up individual trajectories, designed to facilitate individual defection from violent extremist organisations. Some of these trajectories are organised by local authorities and aim to reintegrate individuals into society through multidisciplinary counselling. Others are set up by private initiatives. And lastly there are individual programs for (former) detainees. Coordination and monitoring of quality standards is dispersed over several policy domains and levels. In this contribution, Lore Colaert introduces us into the complex architecture of de-radicalisation in Flanders.

            Lore Colaert

            In the aftermath of 9-11 the response mechanisms to political violence have mainly gone in one direction. Fifteen million US dollar per hour have been spent since that gruesome day in 2001, on military means to combat terrorism. The state responds to the threat by securing the state. This impacts all domains of our daily lives. From freedom of movement via physical and political space to express opinions to the freedom of expression and the right to privacy. The state increasingly enters those spaces and securitizes the way it looks at society and citizens. The assumption being that this response mechanism will improve state security and hopefully also the security of the people. This may proof the wrong assumption. The measures may proof counter productive and not only change the way we live and society functions but it may also fundamentally change the relation between the state and the citizen. A paradigm is at stake. The paradigm of the rule of law and democracy in which the rights of the citizens are guaranteed trough the notion of respect for fundamental human rights. A paradigm that we have set out to defend trough counter terrorism may get lost because of the very same counter terrorism measures.

            Peter Knoope

            This session will look at two decades of experiences from Exit Sweden as well as the lessons learnt from the European Commission’s practitioner network RAN on interventions with individuals in VE environments. What are the challenges and successes in the work of supporting individuals to re-integrate to society, can formers be involved and what are the minimum requirements in Exit work? Robert Örell is the director at Exit Sweden, headed by the NGO Fryshuset. He has over fourteen years of experience on work with disengagement from political extremism and criminal gangs, social work with supporting victims of crime, parental support, networking and management. He is adviser on the work of setting up Exit organisations in several countries, as well as participated in- and worked with several EU projects. Since 2012 Robert is a member of the steering committee of the European Commission’s RAN (Radicalization Awareness Network) where he co-chairs the working group RAN Exit. Since 2016 Robert is also part of the expert pool at the RAN Center of Excellence. He works together with the Swedish National Coordinators office to set up a national RAN network for practitioners. During 2014 he supervised the work at the family support hotline project Sy.Realize concerning Foreign Fighters. Robert has studied social pedagogy, has completed a basic psychotherapy training and has taken a certificate in Terrorism Studies at the University of St. Andrews.

            Robert Örell

            Q&A with Robert Örell Moderator Jessika Soors

            Robert Örell

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