Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN)

Uniting young activists, creatives and tech entrepreneurs to amplify efforts to counter violent extremism

ISD’s Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) is the leading global youth counter-extremism network. The YouthCAN community unites over 1,300 young activists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs in 130 countries to amplify efforts to counter extremism worldwide.

YouthCAN is designed to upscale and optimise youth-led grassroots counter-extremism efforts internationally. The network enables a global exchange of practices and know-how to foster collaboration and co-creation between its members.

The network engages young people and provides them with the tools they need to create effective content aimed at challenging hate speech and extremism. We work directly with youth activists, facilitating Youth Innovation Labs that provide them with the resources and expertise to develop and deliver counter-speech campaigns for preventing and countering extremism in their communities.

YouthCAN also provides a platform for young people to express their needs and views to policy makers through ISD.


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Youth Innovation Labs

Visit the YouthCAN website
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counter-speech campaigns

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counter-speech campaigns

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Team
Kelsey Bjornsgaard
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Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Project Manager

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Kelsey Bjornsgaard
Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Project Manager

Kelsey Bjornsgaard is a Project Manager at ISD focusing on counter-narrative development and delivery as well as youth engagement and education. Kelsey is responsible for running the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and organising ISD’s Youth Innovation Labs. Kelsey is developing new strategies for enhancing peer-to-peer messaging and works closely with young activists internationally to develop innovative youth-led initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism. Kelsey also works closely with the Strong Cities Network to amplify youth voices amongst government and policy-makers at a city level. Kelsey previously managed marketing and social media strategy for an independent US-based IT company. She holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Iris Boyer
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Iris Boyer

Senior Partnerships & Networks Manager

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Iris Boyer
Iris Boyer

Senior Partnerships & Networks Manager

Iris manages ISD’s partnerships and networks, currently focusing on the Online Civil Courage Initiative in partnership with Facebook and the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN). Before joining the ISD, Iris worked at YouTube on the development and coordination of the global campaign Creators for Change. Prior to that, she managed European counter speech and social good programmes at Facebook and spent some time working for French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Natasha Hanckel-Spice
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Natasha Hanckel-Spice

Senior Programme Manager

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Natasha Hanckel-Spice
Natasha Hanckel-Spice

Senior Programme Manager

Natasha manages ISD’s partnership projects programmes, overseeing delivery. This includes the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) in partnership with Facebook. Prior to joining ISD, Natasha worked with a number of well-known organisations including the British Home Office, advising on marketing strategy and developing social enterprise and youth campaigns.
Anisa Harrasy
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Anisa Harrasy

Project Associate

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Anisa Harrasy
Anisa Harrasy

Project Associate

Anisa is a Project Associate at ISD working predominantly on ISD’s East Africa project. Her work focuses on the use of social media in relation to extremism, radicalisation, and community conflict as well as in creating effective online counter narratives. Anisa holds a master’s degree from Sussex University in International Security. During he masters she researched on the transition from war to peace. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Sussex University in International relations with Arabic. Anisa is comfortable working in both English and Swahili.
Tim Hulse
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Tim Hulse

Project Coordinator

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Tim Hulse
Tim Hulse

Project Coordinator

Tim is a Project Coordinator at ISD, working across the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and Against Violent Extremism (AVE) projects. He is currently responsible for network engagement and project delivery for ISD’s YouthCAN programme. Tim has previously been engaged in research for a number of UK charities and NGOs focusing on extremism, Middle Eastern politics and refugee issues among other topics. He holds a Masters in Intelligence and International Security from Kings College London and a Bachelors in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies.