Power and External Influence in the Balkans

Power and External Influence in the Balkans

Virtual Briefing Series

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET


Decades after the bloody fall of Yugoslavia, tensions continue to simmer in the Western Balkans region. As Serbia continues its candidacy for accession to the EU, pressure is rising to resolve the question of Kosovo, with the dispute over Kosovo’s territory seeing cyclical flare-ups in tension. Meanwhile, Russia seeks to maintain its influence over the region as more Western Balkan states move towards EU and NATO accession. Is a resolution to these complex, decades-old tensions near? Please join us on Tuesday, April 4 from 12 PM to 1 PM ET for a discussion with Petrit Selimi, former foreign minister of Kosovo, and Ivan Vejvoda, Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, on the geopolitics of the Western Balkans region.

COULDN’T ATTEND OUR EVENT? Don’t worry. You can watch it below


Petrit Selimi

Petrit Selimi is the former foreign minister of Kosovo. He is currently engaged in several public and private sector initiatives in renewable energy and energy transition and is active in public discussions on Kosovo’s key challenges, including the ongoing dialogue with Serbia. 

After serving as Kosovo’s deputy foreign minister (2010-2011) and foreign minister (2016), Petrit has worked for over five years as the CEO of Millennium Foundation Kosovo, the country’s biggest non-profit organization financed by a $49million US federal grant from MCC, focused on energy, gender inclusion and environment. 

Prior to these engagements, Petrit has been founder and leader of several civic, cultural and private initiatives, including serving as founding CEO and publisher of Gazeta Express, Kosovo’s biggest online media; member of the Board of Directors of Open Society Fund and President Ahtisaari’s Balkan Children and Youth Foundation. 

Petrit has won global awards for his work in digital diplomacy, global interfaith dialogue, etc. He has studied for BA at University of Oslo and MA at London School of Economics. He has written for and has been profiled for global media outlets including Time, The Guardian, The New York Times, Wired magazine, The Times of London, BBC, etc. Petrit is active on Twitter and speaks fluently Albanian, English, Norwegian and south Slavic languages. 


Ivan Vejvoda

Before joining the IWM (Institute for Human Sciences) as a Permanent Fellow in 2017, Ivan Vejvoda was Senior Vice President for Programs at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States. From 2003 until 2010, he served as Executive Director of GMF’s Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions in South-Eastern Europe. Vejvoda came to GMF in 2003 after distinguished service in the Serbian government as a senior advisor on foreign policy and European integration to Prime Ministers Zoran Djindjic and Zoran Zivkovic. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of the Belgrade-based Fund for an Open Society from 1998 to 2002.

During the mid-1990s, Vejvoda held various academic posts in the United States and the U.K., including at Smith College in Massachusetts and Macalester College in Minnesota, and the University of Sussex in England.

Vejvoda was a key figure in the democratic opposition movement in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, and has published widely on the subjects of democratic transition, totalitarianism, and post-war reconstruction in the Balkans.

Since 2005 he is a member of ERSTE Foundation’s Advisory Board. Furthermore, he is a member of the Serbian PEN Club and is a board member of U.S. social science journals Constellations and Philosophy and Social Criticism.

Vejvoda has been awarded the French National Order of Merit in the rank of Officer and the Order of the Italian Star of Solidarity, second rank (Commendatore). He holds a diploma from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and completed postgraduate studies in philosophy at Belgrade University.





Photo credit: ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

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