Morina, E., Austin, B., Roetman, T. & Duduet, V.-2019
This comparative report presents insights from a collaborative research project combined with community dialogue initiatives carried out in 2017/18 in four Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. Arguably, the four countries scrutinised in the study have many similarities rooted in shared historical grievances, but also linked to underperforming economies, bad governance and administrative dysfunctionality, national and ethnic tensions and unresolved identity issues. The research project focused on the meso-level and sought to identify factors of community vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism, and to formulate and test recommendations drawn from peacebuilding for effective prevention of violent extremism (PVE). In order to identify and understand what makes communities resilient to violent extremism, researchers analysed communities’ characteristics in a given socio-economic, ideological and political context. Affected and unaffected communities were the main ‘target’ of the research, which aimed to explore and identify what makes a certain community stand out in its ability (by chance or choice) to prevent or resist the threats of violent extremism, or be influenced by ideological and/or physical forms of violent extremism. It quickly became clear that communities are neither fully affected nor completely unaffected – an unaffected community might still share the same ‘breeding ground’ traits as affected municipalities and an affected community could still display some features of a resilient community. Finally, this comparative report draws up a set of recommendations for local and national policymakers and for the international community already involved in studying and supporting the prevention
of violent extremism in the Balkans and beyond.