The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, School of International and Public Affairs presents

“Countering Violent Extremism: Lessons from the Western Balkans”


A Discussion with Dr. Florian Qehaja

Director, Kosovar Centre for Security Studies

Visiting Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Moderated by Austin Long, Associate Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, and members, SIWPS


Seating is limited; first come first seated.


SUMMARY:  The doctrinal shift in fighting terrorism from hard security into soft (preventive) measures caught Western Balkans unprepared. There is a shared understanding among the academic and policy community that the preventive measures and locally driven initiatives are prerequisites for minimising the potential of violent extremism. The Western Balkans are geographically in Europe yet positioned strategically enough so to be directly affected by terrorist groups. The fragile states, poor economic condition and uncertain European perspective have been perfectly used by the recruiters having strong ties to DAESH or Jaber al Nustra. This presentation will share the recent figures of societal and state efforts in preventing further widespread of violent extremism in the Western Balkans. It will bring the figures of foreign terrorist fighters and the recent developments in de-radicalisation and disengagement. 


Dr. Florian Qehaja is the Executive Director of KCSS and one of the co-founders of KCSS. Florian is author of several scientific and policy publications in the security field. He serves as an international consultant on security issues cooperating with leading international governmental and non-governmental organisations. Most recently, he is coordinating the bilateral support of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence in the Ministry of Kosovo Security Force. He is an opinion-maker in the security field providing analysis for local and international media.

Florian Qehaja is a doctor of science on security studies from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. His PhD topic was “Security Sector Development and the Problem of Local Ownership: Case of Kosovo”. He is Fulbright Visiting Scholar at SIPA Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies of the University of Columbia, New York. Moreover, he has graduated at the University of Sussex (United Kingdom) in Contemporary European Studies (MA); whereas, he obtained Bachelor’s Degree in Law at the University of Prishtina. He has been granted prestigious Chevening and Fulbright scholarships.