#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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Hedayah / Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Communications Expo and Hackathon

Security was higher than at most Hedayah and Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) events I’ve attended, but perhaps with good reason. Following the murder of an American teacher at an Abu Dhabi shopping mall (as well as a foiled plot to kill another), it was understandable that metal detectors were installed on two levels at the Hilton Capital Grand where last week’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Communications Expo was held.

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Countering Violent Extremism: The Hedayah #CVE2014 Communications Expo

When I received an email from the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) in January 2013 asking if I’d present my work in the conflict zones of the South Caucasus at an intergovernmental seminar in Abu Dhabi, I thought it was spam. The meeting was to be organised by the CSCC, Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and the Hedayah Centre. But it didn’t turn out to be a scam, and in the subsequent telephone conversation with CSCC that followed it became apparent that not only had they been following my work, but they also saw its relevance in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) online.

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Open Data and Open Government: Data Journalism and Data Visualisation in the South Caucasus

TechPresident has just published my article on Open Data, Data Journalism, and Data Visualisation in the South Caucasus. The strongest work in this area can arguably be found in Georgia, but there’s also some exemplary and incredibly brave investigative reporting coming from Azerbaijan too. The article also follows last month’s Personal Democracy Forum and Open Data Hackathon, where representatives of Jumpstart Georgia and Transparency International Georgia were also present.

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Ukraine Centre UA’s Svitlana Zalischuk at the Personal Democracy Forum Poland — CEE 2014

Last week I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in Warsaw, Poland, where I was invited to speak on a panel discussing the situation of the independent media and democracy in the South Caucasus. The event had been planned a few months in advance, but coinciding with events next door in Ukraine, including the Russian military intervention in Crimea, the conference’s agenda seemed very timely indeed.

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