Brown Bag Lecture \ Policies for the Reintegration of Returned Fighters—The Case of North Macedonia

Displacement and Development

Following the collapse of ISIS in Syria and Iraq in mid-2018, Macedonia and many other Balkan countries were faced with hundreds of fighters (including their wives and children) who wanted to return home. In joint efforts with the international partner countries, group repatriations of dozens of Balkan fighters have taken place over the last six years. The Macedonian authorities prioritised the reintegration agenda by adopting a National Plan on Reintegration, Resocialization and Rehabilitation (RRR), which was self-evaluated as inclusive (whole-of-society approach). Moreover, local and international experts in the field assessed the plan as an ambitious, well-designed programme that could become a model for other Western countries. However, practice in the field shows that it is debatable that all is well. This presentation offers a critical approach to ongoing reintegration policies and work in Macedonia.

Samet Shabani is the Chief Executive of HORIZON CIVITAS, an association for civic activism and the promotion of social responsibility. His field of work and research includes countering violent extremism (CVE), with a focus on reintegration, rehabilitation and resocialisation in North Macedonia. Since September 2018, he and his organisation have initiated the first project in the country on this topic: “Building Reintegration and Initiating Dialogue for Greater Engagement—BRIDGE”, which aims to build a bridge between returnees and members of the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter Terrorism to initiate reintegration policies.

Mr Shabani has written several academic publications and has worked for a number of national and international organisations as a researcher, expert, consultant and project coordinator on the above topics. His previous fellowships include the International Visitors and Leadership Program (IVLP) of the US State Department, Public Policy of the Council of Europe, School for Politics of the Presidency of North Macedonia. Samet Shabani is fluent in five languages.

The talk is part of bicc’s Brown Bag Lecture Series "Displacement and Development", which aims to bring together conflict and displacement studies on the one hand and development respectively humanitarian aid-oriented analyses on the other. It takes place in cooperation with the bicc-project "Return and Belonging after Conflict-induced Displacement" (RE-MIG), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

Date: 30 April 2024, 13:00-14:00 CET

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