PAVE Stakeholders commitee meeting

KCSS has organized on January 27, 2021 the stakeholder committee meeting in the framework of the European Union’s Horizon 2020- PAVE project. Participants included representatives from the government and civil society, such as officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the responsible division in the ministry for reintegration of radicalized individuals in the society, as well as former officials of Kosovo’s National Security Council that was in charge to coordinate issues pertaining to violent extremism. Representatives from civil society included, youth organizations that promote development of critical thinking among university and high school students.

The meeting was divided into two parts, the first part included a presentation of the PAVE project, including the research approach and methodology, while the second part of the meeting included a discussion on the research questions and field site selection with respect to online and offline (de) radicalization.

Participants noted that in the field sites selected in Kosovo and North Macedonia, in the last 20 years, religious radicalization has surpassed nationalism, but problems that have fueled religious radicalization are rooted in ethno-political dimension. For instance, in Kosovo this is related with the nature of the state of the country, which has defused a strong liberal normative framework without working with the society to integrate such norms. This has resulted in weak links between society and the state, creating an identity vacuum that has been abused by both religious and ethno-political radicals. The participants also noted that the most significant factor of religious radicalization in Kosovo has been the malign influence of foreign actors, especially from Gulf States. In concluding the meeting, government representatives committed themselves to supporting the project and the research process, and expressed their interest to consider the policy outcomes of the research results.