Monday 29th January, London: This week Google.org & ISD will bring together experts from across a spectrum of industries at the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board for its Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism in the UK. The independent expert group includes figures from government, academia, media, tech, film and the arts, such as Baroness Shields, Nazir Afzal , Jude Kelly and Humza Arshad.
The Advisory Board is tasked with supporting Google and ISD to assess proposals to the Fund and support the development of selected projects, based on each member’s expertise. Together with Google, they will be awarding grants this year to the successful projects that seek to tackle the challenge of hate and extremism across the country.
The announcement of the Advisory Board coincides with the conclusion of the first round of applications to the Fund. This February the Fund will be awarding grants to projects selected from over 125 applications received from UK organisations operating across the education, campaigns, cultural and tech sectors, which have collectively asked for over £10 million in funding.
Sasha Havlicek, CEO of ISD and Chair of the Advisory Board commented: “We have been extremely impressed by the standard and wide range of proposals we have received with this first round of applications for the Fund. Having worked in this field for over a decade, it is exciting to see new actors and innovators coming to the table from across the country to tackle the spread of hate and extremism that leads to violence and division.
“The sheer volume of applications demonstrates the significance of Google.org’s investment and the need for further funding in this area, not just from government but from the private sector and philanthropy too.”
The full list of Advisory Board members:
• Sasha Havlicek (Chair) – Leading counter-extremism and conflict resolution expert, CEO of ISD (Institute for Strategic Dialogue)
• Nazir Afzal – Former Chief Crown Prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for North West England from 2011 to 2015.
• Humza Arshad – Actor, comedian and writer best known for his web series Diary of a Bad Man (2010-2013) and “BADMAN” (2015-present)
• Timothy Garton Ash – Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, Director of freespeechdebate.com and Author of ‘Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World’
• Peter Neumann – Journalist and academic, Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence as well as Professor of Security Studies at the War Studies Department of King’s College London.
• Baroness Joanna Shields – Technology industry veteran and parliamentarian who served as UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security and Under-Secretary of State from 2015-2017.
• Alex Williams – Founder of The Basement, a London-based social enterprise that works with urban London youth in the arts, film, music, and culture.
• Miriam Estrin – Public Policy Manager for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Google, formerly worked at US State Department
• Jude Kelly – Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre and Founder of Women of the World festival
Google.org and ISD’s Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism in the UK was announced at the UN General Assembly last year and will distribute £1 million in grants across the UK by the end of 2018, supported by the Google Foundation of Tides Foundation. This forms part of a wider commitment from Google.org to pledge $5m to support solutions to hate and extremism around the world.