Alternative and Counter Narratives in the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict

No sooner than I’m back from Yerevan, where I presented my work on alternative and counter narratives in the context of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in general, than yet another exchange of fire has left innocent civilians dead on the Line of Contact (LoC) separating Karabakh forces, which include conscripts from Armenia, and the Azerbaijani military. As usual, emotions were high on both sides following the violence and also as usual, nationalist and extremist voices made attempted to drown out any voices of reason who instead called for progress in negotiations to end a conflict that has gone on for way too long and claimed thousands of lives after a ceasefire agreement that has been anything but.

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Unlikely Neighbours: Ethnic Armenian-Azeri Coexistence in Georgia

With peace still looking elusive, and all signs pointing to the possibility of renewed fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, Stratfor recently published my photo story on ethnic Armenian-Azeri coexistence in Georgia. Offering a much needed alternative narrative on relations between the two ethnic groups, it’s a topic I’ve covered continuously since 2009 for BBC Azeri, RFE/RL, and others.

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Woodstock Without Borders: One Caucasus Festival

I’ve been meaning to attend the annual One Caucasus festival since it started three years ago, but this year’s event, held 25-28 August in the Georgian village of Tserakvi, was the first time that I have. Naturally, I put together two video reports, in Azerbaijani for the BBC’s Azeri Service and in English for Meydan TV.

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#NKPeace: The Armenia-Azerbaijan Karabakh Escalation Viewed From Georgia

Following the recent escalation on the Line of Contact (LoC) separating Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in and around the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, BBC Azeri recently published my piece on the view from Georgia. In particular, it focuses on opinions expressed at a meeting of the Thinking Citizens platform, an Azerbaijani and Georgian-Azeri initiative. I also wrote a much longer piece for openDemocracy which was also republished by the World Policy Institute.

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BBC Azeri: Azerbaijani Carpets reWoven

Last week BBC Azeri published my video report on reWoven, a sustainable development project to revive and sustain the art of traditional carpet weaving among Georgia's ethnic Azeri minority. I had interviewed Ryan Smith, reWoven's founder, over a month ago during an exhibition of some of the carpets made as part of the project, but only got to visit one of the villages where some of the weavers live last weekend.

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Novruz in Marneuli, Georgia

Marking the first day of Spring and the beginning of the Persian New Year, ethnic Azeris in Marneuli, Georgia, once again celebrated Novruz with a public concert. Marneuli is home to some 20,000 people of which over 80 percent are ethnic Azeris. The surrounding region of Kvemo Kartli, of which Marneuli is a municipality, has a population of over 500,000 people. Constituting the largest group in the region, some 45 percent are ethnic Azeris.

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Free Thought Azeri Tea House, Tbilisi, Georgia

The BBC’s Azerbaijan Service has just published my video report on the Free Thought Tea House in Tbilisi, Georgia. The piece is in Azerbaijani, but below is a brief description in English. I’ve covered Tbilisi’s tea houses serving as a meeting space for the whole region, before, but this new venture takes things to whole other level.

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