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Building Connections for Development in
Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus

Restart Initiative

Restart Initiative is a non-profit organization with the mission of building connections for economic and social development in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus. We use our deep expertise in international development and media to identify opportunities for constructive engagement in the region.

Restart Initiative identifies economic and social development opportunities in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus  - and then builds targeted, agile projects to respond to them.

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About Us

Emin Milli is the Founder and Chairman of Restart Initiative and the Co-Founder of Daha Yaxşı, Restart Initiative's media project. He is also the Founder and former Managing Director (2013-2019) of Meydan TV, an independent Azerbaijani media organization based in Berlin.

Milli was a public advocate for dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan during and after the Second Karabakh War. He continues to call for peaceful engagement and economic connectivity between the two countries. His co-authored pieces on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have been published in NewsweekAl-Jazeera and the International Business Times.

From 2002-2004, Milli directed the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Azerbaijan. In 1999-2000, he was the coordinator of the International Republican Institute in Azerbaijan.

Milli has worked as an advisor and consultant to the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) on legal and administrative reform in Azerbaijan.

Milli holds a BA in International Law, cum laude, from Baku State University and an MA from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he studied State, Society and Development.


Isabelle McRae is the Director of Restart Initiative. She is a political scientist and multilingual development consultant.  Living, studying and working in the Caucasus between 2016-2019 established her long-term interest in conflict transformation and dialogue. She regularly speaks and writes about geopolitical and social issues in the region. 


McRae has consulted for not-for-profit organizations in the UK, US, Turkey, Chile and Azerbaijan, specializing in developing strategic impact and social research projects. Her work has focused on refugee and migrant labour issues, democratic participation and anti-corruption for the Greater London Authority, National Endowment for Democracy, US State Department, London School of Economics and the European Commission. She is currently the Development Consultant for the Center for Geopolitics at Cambridge University. 

McRae holds a Master's in Conflict Studies with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a BA summa cum laude in International Affairs (Hons) and a Minor in Turkish Language and Politics from Portland State University.

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