The Berghof Foundation Programme on Conflict Transformation Research has developed a new participatory research project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, that will be conducted together with partner organisations based in four Western Balkan countries, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. The research will explore why some communities are particularly affected by individuals joining foreign violent extremist Islamist groups, while other communities may show greater resilience to the phenomenon of violent radicalisation. Based on the findings, we will then conduct policy outreach and local dialogues initiatives, in cooperation with local stakeholders and affected communities, in order to jointly devise strategies for improved PVE programming. Particular focus will be placed on the role of civil society actors (especially youths and religious leaders), in close collaboration with state institutions, in tackling the drivers of vulnerability and building resilient communities. In addition, the project will conduct intra-regional comparative analysis and exchange, as well as cross-regional peer-exchange with PVE practitioners and experts from the MENA region.
On 19-21 July the project’s inception meeting was held in Berlin. It brought together an interdisciplinary Advisory Board members comprising of five experts in the field, and representatives from our four partner organisations with the aim of discussing jointly the project focus, design and methodology.