Preventing and Addressing Violent Extremism through Community Resilience in the Balkans and MENA (PAVE)


About Project

The PAVE research project is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Work programme, under the call “SU-GOVERNANCE-10-2019: Drivers and contexts of violent extremism in the broader MENA region and the Balkans”.

Based on an interdisciplinary, participatory and inter-regional approach, the main objectives of PAVE are:

Objective 1: Advance evidence-based knowledge on violent extremism in the MENA and the Balkans beyond the state-of-the-art

A. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the drivers and contexts of violent extremism with a particular focus on factors of community vulnerability to ideological and behavioural patterns of radicalisation.

B. Assess the relevance and effectiveness of preventive initiatives against violent extremism, with a specific focus on measures to enhance community resilience.

C. Compare and reflect on the threat of violent extremism at the interface between religion, politics and identity within and across the MENA, Balkans and Europe, especially taking into consideration effects on European security.

Objective 2: Strengthen the capacity of policy-makers and community leaders and support multi-stakeholder exchange for an effective prevention of violent extremism between the European Union and its neighbourhood

A. Develop and test innovative training tools and guidelines to support agents of community resilience to violent extremism.

B. Support mutual learning on best practices in preventing violent extremism by engaging stakeholders (including women and youth) locally, nationally and regionally.

C. Increase awareness on the factors fuelling or preventing violent extremism among community leaders, policy-makers and the wider public in Europe, Balkans and the MENA region.

To reach these goals PAVE will conduct multi-partner empirical research and multi- stakeholder dialogue on the factors and context of ideological and behavioural (de- )radicalisation patterns, at the crossroads between religions, politics and identity.

PAVE will also assess the relevance and effectiveness of prevention initiatives against violent extremism, including measures to improve community-based resilience. By generating new knowledge about how local communities can prevent radicalisation, we will provide valuable insights about the tools and mechanisms that EU and other stakeholders can use in addressing the factors and contexts of violent extremisms.

The project’s four thematic fields of investigation are:

 the interface between religious, political and ethnic/sectarian extremisms;

 the interaction between religious and public institutions;

 online and off-line narratives on (de)radicalisation;

 transnational interactions including influences on and from Europe (e.g. diasporas).

The empirical investigation encompasses:

 case studies of selected municipalities among four Western Balkans countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia) and three MENA countries (Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq)

 intra- and inter-regional comparative analysis

The project will seek to enhance participatory knowledge co-creation through a collaborative research design. Fieldwork and case studies will be led (jointly or in tandem) by universities or think tanks located in each of the respective countries, and by external academic institutions with thematic and regional expertise. Additionally, to ensure that the project corresponds to local needs, security practitioners, policy-makers, community (e.g. religious) leaders, civil society representatives and those working with at-risk groups will be involved from early stages of the research endeavour. Regular stakeholder committees will be convened in each fieldwork country in order to engage key social actors throughout the project. EU and European policy-makers will also be addressed through policy dissemination events in Brussels and EU project partner countries.

The empirical field research will combine qualitative and quantitative methods, including: key informant interviews and focus group discussions, discourse analysis of social media data, social network cluster analysis, community surveys and statistical analysis, Geographic Information System (GIS) risk assessment tools, and a randomised field experiment.

Finally, the project will develop evidence-based tools and guidelines for policy and practitioner audiences, including an interactive risk map spanning across three regions and a toolkit of cross-regional vulnerability/resilience factors, online open access training modules for capacity building and teaching (e.g. on how to use religious traditions against extremists’ narratives), and policy guidelines for multi-stakeholder engagement in preventive policies at the community level.

The project consortium consists of the following partner organisations: Berghof Foundation (Germany, coordinator), European Research and Project Office GmbH (Germany), Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (France), Uppsala University (Sweden), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Greece), Fundación Euroárabe de Altos Estudios (Spain), Finn Church Aid (Finland), University of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kosovo Centre for Security Studies (Kosovo), American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Sfax University (Tunisia), tbc (Iraq). 

For more, please visit: PAVE Project