Below are key quotes from a special address by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. You can watch the speech in full here.

“I’m here today to talk about countering violent extremism. I remain optimistic about the possibilities but we have to understand what we’re facing. The most basic choice there is – between death and life, between destroying and building… ought to be an easy choice.”

“One thing is clear – if we’re going to successfully combat violent extremism we’d better understand all of the factors because we can’t change minds without knowing what’s in them. And we have to do so mindful of the fact that understanding and acceptance are not the same.”

“There are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, grievance, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage or personal ambition that will ever justify the murder of children, the kidnapping and the rape of teenage girls or the slaughter of unarmed civilians whether for ideology or for some false religious assertion.”

“While obviously there are many international priorities that demand our attention, I never imagined the number of simultaneous crises that we might possibly be able to face. We can’t shy away from this reality.”

“The twentieth century was defined by the civilized world’s struggle to develop the rule of law as an alternative to chaos, to disorder and dictatorship. And today we are witnessing nothing more than a form of criminal anarchy, nihilism which illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation. Against this enemy we are increasingly organising and fighting back. But in doing so we have to also keep our heads.”

“Religions don’t require adherence to raze villages and blow up people. It’s individuals with a distorted and an even ignorant view of religion that will do that. So what should we do? The first step is to make clear that the civilised world will not cower in the face of this violence.”

“Eliminating the terrorists that confront us today actually only solves part of the problem. We have to do more to avoid an endless cycle of violent extremism… we have to transform the very environment from which these forces emerge.”

“If we don’t do what is required now then I guarantee you the fundamental conflict will either stay the same or get worse. … We need a commitment for the long term, we have to take more risks, we have to invest more resources.”

“Ultimately this fight is not going to be decided on the battlefield. The outcome is going to be determined in classrooms, workplaces, houses of worship, community centres, urban street corners, in the perceptions and the thoughts of individuals, and the ways in which those perceptions are created. It will be determined by our success in creating prosperity that is widely shared.”

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism, alternatives that are as credible, as visible, as empowering and broadly available as we can make them.”

“The rise of violent extremism is a challenge to the nation state and the global rule of law. The forces that contribute to it and the dangers that flow from it compel us to prepare, to plan, to unite, and to insist that our collective future will be uncompromised by the primitive and paranoid ideas of terrorists but instead it will be built by the universal values of decency, civility, knowledge, reason and law. That is what we stand for, that is where we stand and with the images of Paris and Peshawar fresh in our hearts, no-one should doubt that we are going to stand together.”

Image: John F. Kerry, US Secretary of State gestures as he speaks to the audience during the ‘Special Address’ at the Annual Meeting 2015 of the World Economic Forum at Congress Centre – Congress Hall, January 23, 2015. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/ Valeriano DiDomenico