EU Neighbourhood: secularism for promoting peace, dialogue and reconciliation


Click here to download the report "Secularism in Azerbaijan and the threat of radicalisation in the region":


Policy Briefing

Hosted by Julie Ward MEP (S&D/UK) and Tunne Kelam (EPP/EST):


"EU Neighbourhood: secularism for promoting peace, dialogue and reconciliation"

10:00am to 12:00pm

Tuesday, 23rd June 2015


European Parliament

Room JAN 6Q1


In the framework of our Counter Radicalisation Programme, the European Foundation for Democracy is researching and analysing the nature and the spread of the phenomenon of radicalisation in the European Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods. The programme focuses on a number of key countries including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The objective is to identify patterns and trends, as well as specific local and regional developments in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the situation on the ground and specific recommendations for EU and other policy makers. The panel will discuss aspects of secularism with a case study on Azerbaijan.


Julie Ward MEP (S&D/UK)

Elected in July 2014, Julie Ward MEP represents the North West of England in the European Parliament. She is a member of the Parliament's committees on Culture and Education, Regional Development and Women's Rights and Gender Equality. She's a board member of the European Internet Forum, gathering MEPs interested in digital issues and she's active on many human rights issues. Julie is also a children's rights champion, having co-founded the EP cross-party and cross-committee Intergroup on children's rights. She's also active in the Disability Intergroup, the Youth Intergroup, the Intergroup on Common Good & Public Services and the Intergroup on Social Economy.

Tunne Kelam, MEP (EPP Group, Estonia)

Tunne Kelam has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004 and is head of the Estonian national delegation in the EPP Group. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee of Security and Defence, as well as substitute member of the Committee on Regional Development. Author of the EP's first comprehensive cyber security and cyber defence report, Tunne Kelam has fought for better and securer European cyber space since 2007. He is member of the Digital Agenda intergroup and the European Internet Forum. Tunne is active on human rights issues (particualrly Iran, Russia, China) and is a member of the EPP Group team negotiating EP urgency resolutions on human rights violations.

Guest Speakers:

Valentina Colombo, Professor of geopolitics in the Islamic world at the European University in Rome and Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy. Valentina's research focuses on democratisation in the Middle East and North Africa. She is particularly focused on liberal intellectuals in the region and the role of women in politics.

Fariz Ismailzade, Vice-Rector, ADA University, Baku, Azerbaijan. He co-ordinates external, international and governmental relations and also served in the task force group to develop Azerbaijan's national educational strategy. He has been a freelance analyst for the Jamestown Foundation and the John Hopkins University's Central Asia-Caucasus Institute. Fariz has published two books on the politics of the South Caucasus. He has a degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Tommaso Virgili, Researcher, European Foundation for Democracy, works on a number of research projects relating to foreign policy, radicalisation and Islam. He has previously held posts at the European External Action Service (covering Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan), the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia and the Italian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Tommaso holds a Master's degree in Law from Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa and a Master's degree in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the American University of Paris and Cairo.


RSVP by 17th June 2015 at 12:00pm with name, email address and organisation to: events@europeandemocracy.eu

If you need an access pass for the European Parliament, please submit your name, ID or passport number and country of residence to: margherita.putrone@europeandemocracy.eu