In September 2018, Democracy Lab held a conference in Skopje to disseminate the report “Community Perspectives on the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Macedonia” and publicly present the findings and recommendations of the Opportunities for Preventing Violent Extremism through Intra-regional and Cross-Regional Dialogue project.
Opening remarks were given by Sefer Selimi, executive director of Democracy Lab and Besa Arifi, professor of criminal law at the South Eastern European University. Engjëllushe Morina, conflict transformation researcher at the Berghof Foundation gave a more general description of the overall project goals and objectives in the regional context.
The presentation started with Artina Zeqiri and Rrona Kamberin, researchers at Democracy Lab which briefly explained the methodology and the approach of the research that was conducted in three communities: Chair, Gostivar and Struga.
Filip Stojkovski, senior research analyst and one of the authors of the report made a presentation of the key findings and recommendations that was followed with an external experts comment by Skender Perteshi, program coordinator at Kosovo Center for Security Studies.
The presentation was followed with a discussion between the participants that were the key stakeholders in Macedonia on the efforts to counter violent extremism.
Democracy Lab’s “Community Perspectives on the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Macedonia” report written by Filip Stojkovski and Natasia Kalajdziovska can be downloaded in our web page in the following link:
About the project:
Opportunities for Preventing Violent Extremism through Intra-regional and Cross-regional Exchange
The main aim of the project will thus be to support the prevention of violent extremism in the Western Balkans by undertaking joint analysis, regional and cross-regional networking, and policy advice to national and international stakeholders, in order to address the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors of radicalisation (process) and violent extremism (outcome). The project will probe into the potential benefits of connecting PVE activities with regional peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in order to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism. Since violent extremism is a direct driver of conflict and a hindrance for building sustainable peace, gaining a clearer and more accurate understanding on how to expand the scope of PVE programming will also at the same time offer an insight into why people take violent extremist paths. In addition this project will develop a framework based on knowledge and analysis that aims at fostering sound dialogue processes in the field of PVE. Thus, the overarching methodological approach to achieve the project’s goals entails four main components: 1) conduct in-depth case study and comparative research in order to investigate the reasons why people, especially youth, become radicalized and as a consequence embrace violent extremism; 2) support cross-country and cross-regional peer-advice exchange on how to best address violent extremism through PVE programming; 3) formulate, present and disseminate policy/practical recommendations for relevant local, national and regional actors on how to design programmes that will address the different push and pull factors of violent extremism in the Western Balkans while also contributing to regional reconciliation efforts; and 4) test these recommendations through four local pilot (intra- and inter-religious) dialogues between state institutions, religious institutions, youth representatives and relevant civil society organisations.
This project is led by the Berghof Foundation in partnership with the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS), Analytica from Macedonia, Institute for Democracy and Mediation from Albania and Atlantic Initiative from Bosnia and Herzegovina