Samet Shabani

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: For Dialogue, Against Extremism!North Macedonia

Samet Shabani is a political scientist and a chief executive at Horizon Civitas, an association for civic activism and encouraging social responsibility in North Macedonia. His expertise includes Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), interfaith dialogue, and foreign influenced religious populism in North Macedonia and the Balkans. Samet has worked for a number of domestic and international organizations as a researcher, expert, and consultant and has had his research published. His former fellowships include: School of Public Policy by Council of Europe, School for Politics by Presidency of North Macedonia, and Sustainable Public Management at Malmö University. Samet speaks fluently in six languages. He loves hiking, playing violin and ironing.

IVLP Impact Award Project: For Dialogue, Against Extremism!

The "For Dialogue, Against Extremism!" project created digital campaign initiatives to counter violent extremism by bringing future religious workers and theologists together and teaching them how to use interfaith dialogue as a tool to prevent radicalization. Through workshops and dialogue sessions, this project strengthened the capacities of 20 religious workers/theologians of five religious communities in the country on countering violent extremism, involving interfaith dialogue initiatives as a tool to counter violent extremism, and promoting online alternative narratives to the ideologically motivated religious extremism. At least 15 stakeholders were mobilized and directly reached out to about 20,000 people on social media regarding the project efforts to raise awareness on countering extremism. The four dialogue sessions encouraged discussions about movies, books, and other topics related to countering extremism, engaging about 600 people and increasing the community's overall knowledge on the topic.

“For me, this workshop was a mindset-changing one. I've never believed that one day I will sit down with persons from other religions and try to concept dialogue initiatives for the good of community.” - Workshop participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Samet was a participant in the IVLP Project Countering Violent Extremism and Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism – Community Strategies organized by the U.S. Department of State and Institute of International Education.

Samet's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "If extremism promotes violence against the diverse, we have to promote dialogue together with the diverse."

U.S. Communities Visited

Montgomery, AL; Washington, DC; Minneapolis, MN; Seattle, WA

Country: North Macedonia

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