Countering Violent Extremism in Georgia

Last month Stratfor published my latest piece on radicalization in Georgia and what needs to be done in order to prevent and counter it. Since becoming involved in this sphere from 2013 on, it’s become an increasingly active area of interest of mine and not least because while other countries have been quick to introduce national strategies to combat the phenomenon, Georgia has not. Indeed, the same is true for civil society.

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Another Year, Another One Caucasus

After covering last year’s One Caucasus Festival for Meydan TV there was no way I was going to miss this year’s. That was just as well as there was definitely more international media interest in the event that brings Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and Georgians together in a small, somewhat isolated village located about two hours away from Tbilisi.

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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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OSCE Leaders against Intolerance and Violent Extremism (LIVE)

Things have been a bit quiet on this blog for quite a few months and not least because since last December I’ve been on contract as an external media and communications consultant for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU). The project has been to draw up a training program that will eventually be rolled out across the OSCE-wide region to equip youth leaders in member states with the tools and skills necessary to prevent and counter violent extremism. The project touches upon all forms of violent extremism including that by the far right and not just ISIL/Da’esh.

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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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EUMM/IWPR Cross Boundary Workshop for Journalists



From the 21st to 25th November, the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and the South Caucasus office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) convened a workshop and study visit for journalists from Georgia and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Georgia. The workshop was a follow up to one previously held a year ago in Istanbul, Turkey, and held with the intention of also introducing a new group of participants to European Union (EU) structures in Brussels. 



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BBC Azeri Interview with Thomas Goltz

After nearly 19 years of communicating online, I finally managed to meet Thomas Goltz, the American writer and journalist best known for his Azerbaijan Diary, Chechnya Diary, and Georgia Diary books. I also managed to interview him for the BBC's Azerbaijan Service on his latest project, On Aggregate: Champions Without a Home, the story of Azerbaijan's Qarabagh-Aghdam football team which has been unable to play home games since 1993 when their city was captured by Armenian forces during the conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

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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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