Some Positive News from Pankisi, Georgia

It’s not often there’s some positive news coming out of Pankisi, better known these days as the birth place of Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka ISIS’ Abu Omar al-Shishani, but some does exist. In addition to being a tranquil and scenic part of Georgia, and perhaps contrary to popular opinion, local civil society is clued up to the problems facing the region and there are individuals and organisations trying to make a difference. One of those is Gela Mtivlishvili, a Georgian journalist who I first encountered at a closed round table on radicalisation in Pankisi we both spoke at late last year.

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#UnitedCVE: Q & A With Anne Azza Aly and Bennett Clifford

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) recently published another of my pieces on radicalisation in Georgia and once again, the research work of Bennett Clifford proved invaluable to support general observations I’ve also made as it pertains to the problem of radicalisation in Georgia. My recent Q & A with Bennett also proved interesting enough to merit posting it in full on this blog. But first up, however, is Anne Azza Aly, a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) practitioner from Australia who I’ve met before at a Hedayah and Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) event I spoke at in December 2014.

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Towards Effective Policies to Tackle Youth Radicalization in the Pankisi Gorge

Immediately after returning from Istanbul, where I held a workshop for Georgian, Abkhazian, and Ossetian journalists for the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), I spoke at a closed meeting on youth radicalisation in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.

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IWPR, EurasiaNet, and BBC Azeri publish my pieces on radicalisation in the South Caucasus

Following on from my work with various international bodies responsible for countering radicalisation and the recruitment of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), EurasiaNet and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) have published my pieces calling for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) measures in Georgia while my recent BBC Azeri piece includes Azerbaijan.

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Zemo Alvani and Pankisi with the Sayat Nova Project

Last Friday wasn’t just my birthday, but also the day I ventured out into the regions of Georgia with the Sayat Nova Project, a Kickstarter-funded initiative to record the minority musical dialects of the South Caucasus. Last year I posted quite a few entries on the project as it documented ethnic Armenian, Azeri, and Avar traditional music.

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