How does the daughter of Indian immigrants end up attending white nationalist rallies in Sweden? While advocating for migrant rights and working against far-right extremism, Vidhya Ramalingam didn’t see anyone talking to people in these movements to try and understand why they were there. So, she began to immerse herself in white nationalist environments and to build relationships both with people within the movements and with those who had decided to leave. Through countless encounters and conversations, a pattern emerged: being made to feel accepted and understood is what gets people into hate movements – and this same feeling can be used to get people out. But what does this mean for the 21st century, where social media is allowing hate to flourish in entirely new ways? Informed by her personal experience, Vidhya co-founded Moonshot CVE, using technology to identify people at risk of violent extremism and repurposing advertising technology to intervene and to send out messages of help. By leveraging technology to scale deeply personalised and localised human interactions, Vidhya now has the evidence to prove that real change is possible. Vidhya led the European Union’s first inter-governmental initiative on far-right terrorism and extremism. She worked with hundreds of practitioners in 10 European countries to design policy, initiate projects, and build capacity to respond to far-right extremism and terrorism. As co- founder of Moonshot CVE, she directs overall strategy and oversees campaigns, software development, and digital projects in over 25 countries. Under her leadership, the company has pioneered new partnerships with tech companies to respond to violent extremism on their platforms. In her spare time, Vidhya serves on the Board of Life After Hate, an organisation set up by former white supremacists, and dedicated to helping individuals leave hate groups. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Vidhya Ramalingam

Specialist in far right extremism and co-founder of Moonshot

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