Lifestories website & Youtube channel launch!

September 30th 2019 - 13:00

We have published and presented our latest report at the start of this week: "Geopolitical Influences of External Powers in the Western Balkans" by Dr. Arlinda Rrustemi!

Furthermore, we are excited to announce the launch of the Lifestories Website and YouTube channel, which aims to decrease ethno-nationalist and religious radicalization, and to strengthen prevention and assist re-integration of victimised individuals and their families through life stories. 

Life stories impact the subjective perceptions of human beings by building empathy, relations with others and ultimately constructing alternative spaces for dialogue, prevention, re-integration and peace-building. The life stories can be used for dual purposes: researching and creating impact in the society. They provide an opportunity to conduct in depth interdisciplinary research, combining oral history and security studies. In addition, the Lifestories interviews can also be used in practice by translating them into videos to increase societal impact and valorize the research.

In order to grasp the broadness of the citizens' experiences affected by violent extremism, six types of  life story narratives have been identified, namely: (i) resilient, (ii) alternative, (iii) counter, (iv) disengagement, (v) reintegration and (vi) destigmatization. The types of individuals interviewed are as follows: (i) family members, such as mothers, fathers, children, siblings, cousins, (ii) friends, (iii) community observers, (iv) religious and ethnic officials, and (v) individuals approached by terrorist organizations.


Arlinda Rrustemi is a researcher and lecturer on peace and conflict studies. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Leiden University in the Netherlands. In 2016, Arlinda defended her doctoral thesis, entitled "State-Building through Life Stories: Incorporating Local Perspectives”, which was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). She holds a B.A. (cum laude) from the University College Roosevelt and an LL.M. degree in Public International Law from Utrecht University. She teaches on humanitarian intervention, peacebuilding, power instruments and multilateral organizations, and is involved in several research projects uncovering peace infrastructures and countering radicalization.
Rob de Wijk is the founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and Professor of International Relations and Security at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. He studied Contemporary History and International Relations at Groningen University, and wrote his PhD dissertation on NATO’s ‘Flexibility in Response’ strategy at the Political Science Department of Leiden University.