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  • H.E. Mr. Filip Vujanović

    President, Montenegro


    H.E. Mr. Filip Vujanović was born on September 1, 1954 in Belgrade. He graduated from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade and has diploma of jurisprudence exam. From March 1978 until November 1980, he was a practitioner and professional collaborator at I Municipal Public Prosecutor’s Office and in District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade. Mr. Vujanović worked as a Secretary of Court in District Court in Titograd from November 1980 until January 1981. From January 1982 until March 1993 he worked as a lawyer. He was a Minister of Justice in the Government of the Republic of Montenegro from March 1993 to May 1995. From February 5, 1998 until November 5, 2002, he was the President of the Government of the Republic of Montenegro. After parliamentary elections in October 2002, he was elected President of the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro. He was elected President of the Republic of Montenegro on May 11, 2003. At the first parliamentary elections in independent Montenegro on April 6, 2008, Mr. Vujanović was elected President of Montenegro.

  • Mr. Hoyt Brian Yee

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, USA


    Mr. Hoyt Brian Yee is currently working as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in US Department of State. Prior to this he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia as Deputy Chief of Mission. Prior to arriving in Croatia in August 2010, he served in Kabul, Afghanistan as Director of the State Department’s Office of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT). From 2006-2009, he was Consul General in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Principal Officer in Podgorica, Montenegro from 2002 to 2005. He was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council From 1999 to 2001, and from 1996 to 1999 worked at NATO Headquarters as Deputy Chief of Staff to NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at San Diego and has taught courses on International Relations at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

  • Amb. Alper Coşkun

    Director General for International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey


    Amb. Alper Coşkun has been appointed Director General for International Security Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in September 2016. Before that, he was the Ambassador of Turkey to Baku, Azerbaijan. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Deputy Director General in charge of Security and Intelligence in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to that, he served both as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Turkish Delegation to NATO and the First Counsellor in the Turkish Delegation to NATO. He served for two years as the Head of Department, NATO and Euro-Atlantic Military and Security Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Amb. Coşkun was also the Counsellor in the Turkish Mission to the United Nations. He was the Faculty Adviser and Senior Turkish National Representative at NATO Defense College in Rome. He served both as the Deputy to the Special Adviser of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as the Deputy Chief of the Undersecretary in this Ministry. He was the second secretary in the Turkish Embassy in Moscow and the second and first secretary in the Turkish Embassy in Athens. He began his career as the third secretary in the Maritime Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as the Joint Chief of Staff of the Department of Policy and Planning in the Military Service. Amb. Coşkun obtained an MA in Government and Politics at the St. John’s University in New York.

  • H.E. Mr. Duško Marković

    Prime Minister, Government of Montenegro


    He was born on 6 July 1958 in Mojkovac, Montenegro, and his nationality is Montenegrin. He finished elementary and high school in Mojkovac, and graduated from the Faculty of Law in Kragujevac, Serbia. In the period from 1983 to 1986 he was employed in the legal department at the Mine "Brskovo" in Mojkovac. From 1986 to 1989 he served as the Secretary of the Municipal Assembly of Mojkovac, and was the President of the Municipal Assembly of Mojkovac from 1989 to 1991. In 1991, he was elected as the Secretary General of the Government of the Republic of Montenegro, and held that post until 1998. During this period, he also had significant role in the Democratic Party of Socialists. He was a member of the Central Committee, and a member of the Central Executive Committee of DPS. At one point, he was acting director of the Democratic Party of Socialists. In parallel with the office of the Secretary General of the Government, he was a deputy of the Democratic Party of Socialists in the Parliament during 1997 and 1998. In 1998, he was appointed as the Assistant Minister of the Interior in charge of National Security, and held this post until 2005. After the National Security Agency was formed as a sui generis body of the state administration in 2005, due to the need to reform and improve intelligence-security sector, he was appointed as its first director. He was re-elected for this position, and in 2010 the Parliament of Montenegro appointed him as the Minister without portfolio in the Government of Montenegro. In the newly formed Government, late 2010, he was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister for Political System, Foreign and Interior Policy, and the Minister of Justice. During the regular congress of the Democratic Party of Socialists in 2011, he was elected as the member of DPS Presidency. After the parliamentary elections in 2012, he was re-elected as the Deputy Prime Minister for Political System, Interior and Foreign Policy and Minister of Justice, and in 2013 he was Deputy Prime Minister in the same area, and the Minister of Justice and Human Rights. During 2014 and 2015, he was acting director of the Ministry of Culture. After the election of new ministers in the Government, in March 2015, he continued to serve as the Deputy Prime Minister for Political System, Interior and Foreign Policy. In 2015, he was elected as the Vice President of the Democratic Party of Socialists. During 2016, he also served as the Head of the Ministry of Interior. He is a member of the Council for National Security and head of the Bureau for Coordination of Intelligence and Security Sector. He was elected Prime Minister on 28 November 2016. He is married and has three children.

  • H.E. Mr. Igor Crnadak

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bosnia and Herzegovina


    H.E. Mr. Igor Crnadak graduated from the Faculty of Economics in 2004 in Banjaluka, and currently he has been attending the postgraduate studies of the Global markets and the European Union department at the Faculty of Economics in Banjaluka. He has a rich political career, and from 2011 he has been the Secretary General of the Party of Democratic Progress. During the 90s, he worked as a journalist, therefore, he was correspondent of the “Voice of America“ from Banjaluka. He was the Head of the Party of Democratic Progress Caucus at the City Assembly of Banjaluka from 2000 to 2004. In 2006, he was a member of the European Integration Committee of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska. He was a chairman of the BiH NATO Coordination Team. From 2007 to 2009 Mr. Crnadak was Deputy Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, responsible for international cooperation. During the same period, he was the Chairman of the BiH NATO Coordination Team. He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 31, 2015.

  • Ms.Laura Cooper

    Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, USA


    Laura Cooper is a career member of the Senior Executive Service. She has responsibility for policy concerning Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and Western Balkans as well as Conventional Arms Control. Ms. Cooper previously served as a Principal Director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Affairs, with responsibility for policies on: mission assurance, defense continuity of operations, critical infrastructure protection, homeland counterterrorism, global antiterrorism policy, and the Council of Governors. Prior assignments in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy include: Director of the Strategy office, where she helped manage the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review; Acting Director for South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka); and Afghanistan Team Chief, Stability Operations Office. Prior to joining the Department of Defense in 2001, Ms. Cooper was a policy planning officer at the State Department in the Office of Coordinator for Counterterrorism. She has also served as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ms. Cooper has a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy degree from the Industrial College of Armed Forces at National Defense University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Political Science and International Studies) from Northwestern University.

  • Mrs. Tinatin Khidasheli

    Former Minister of Defense, Georgia


    Tinatin Khidasheli is a founder and president of a Georgian think tank Civic Initiative for Euro-Atlantic Choice. Organization fights Russian propaganda, works for the formation of a strategic vision for Georgia moving towards EU and NATO, prioritizes de-occupation policies. Formerly, Tinatin served as Minister of Defense of Georgia, leading major military reforms and fundamentally transforming Civil-Military relations. As a Member of Parliament, Mrs. Khidasheli Chaired the European integration Committee, as well as Parliamentary Investigative Commission. She served as an elected City Councilor in Georgian capital city, Tbilisi in charge of Oversight of City government. Previously, as one of the leaders of the civil Society, she strived to eradicate state corruption in Georgia, while fighting for human rights, democratic reforms and respect for the constitution and rule of law in Georgia. She was involved in numerous independent anti-corruption investigation projects, supporting journalists and NGOs in information gathering, disclosure and reporting. Tinatin is a founder of Georgia’s’ leading human rights group Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, where she served a president and chair of the board. She played an important role in observing parliamentary elections, uncovering electoral fraud, creating dispute-resolution programs, lobbying for the creation of state-run legal aid services for the poor and disenfranchised, empowering minorities and leading very first women rights program in a country.

  • Mr. Brent Sadler

    Ex reporter, CNN, UK


    Brent Sadler is an internationally recognized broadcast journalist who has spent much of his distinguished career reporting from the Middle East and was at the heart of CNN’s world coverage for two decades. Sadler won numerous prestigious international news awards, including a US Emmy and a British BAFTA for his courageous and insightful reporting for CNN both from the Middle East and other global hot spots, becoming one of the foremost war correspondents in television news reporting from conflicts in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Gaza, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Chad, Liberia and former Yugoslavia. He joined CNN in 1991 after 10 years as a news reporter for the British news network Independent Television News (ITN) and spearheaded coverage from Baghdad during 1990 war in the Gulf. Sadler joined ITN in 1981 and became its best-known war reporter, covering violent turmoil in Chad, Libya, Uganda, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Iraqi Kurdistan and the Falkland Islands. In 1989 he covered the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and was in Prague for the fall of the communist regime during the Velvet Revolution and reached Bucharest, Romania at the height of the Christmas Revolution.

  • Dr. Ariel Cohen

    Director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, USA


    Ariel Cohen, L.L.B., Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert on energy policy, with a particular focus on Russia/Eurasia, Eastern and Central Europe, and the Middle East. He is the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. Dr. Ariel Cohen also serves as a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Dr. Cohen is the Principal of International Market Analysis Ltd., a Washington, D.C.-based advisory firm specializing in energy, natural resources, political risk and public affairs. Dr. Cohen has extensive experience consulting for US and foreign governments, Fortune 500 companies and major international law firms. Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He frequently testifies before U.S. Congressional committees and conducts White House, Pentagon, and intelligence community briefings. Dr. Cohen has published over 900 articles, 6 books and monographs and 30 book chapters. He writes for US and international media and regularly appears on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and others. He is a Contributing Editor for the National Interest and a blogger for the Voice of America and Wall Street Journal’s “The Experts.” Dr. Cohen is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society.

  • Prof. Dr. Igor Lukšić

    Former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director of SEE, PwC, Montenegro


    Official candidate for the UN Secretary General 2016, Prime Minister 2010-2012, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Affairs and European Integration 2012-2016, Minister of Finance 2004-2010, Member of Parliament of Montenegro 2001-2003, Member of Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro 2003-2006 Presently, Luksic is with PwC as South East Europe public sector director. Luksic holds PhD in economics of transition and is an associate professor of UDG. Spending most of his professional career up to date in the public sector and serving in several governmental positions Luksic was committed to political and economic freedoms giving boost to many economic and political reforms. Luksic advocated for transparency, put emphasis on dialogue and proactive approach both related to internal and foreign relations. While Prime Minister Montenegro opened accession talks with the EU and completed accession to WTO. When Finance Minister Montenegro pursued significant public finance management and tax reforms, obtained first ever credit rating, sold first Eurobonds and made significant steps to improve Doing Business ranking. As Foreign Minister Luksic was among the key cabinet members working to meet NATO membership conditions and was crucial in launching Western Balkans 6 initiative. Married, father of three.

  • Prof. Dr. Milica Pejanović-Đurišić

    Former Minister of Defense, Montenegro


    Mrs Milica Pejanović-Djurišić served as Minister of Defence in the Government of Montenegro from March 2012 to November 2016. Previously, she was the first ambassador of independent Montenegro to France, Monaco and UNESCO. From 2004 to 2006, Mrs. Pejanović-Djurišić was Ambassador of the State Union Serbia&Montenegro to Belgium and Luxembourg. In the period 1992-2001 she was member of the Parliament of Montenegro and she was elected member of the State Presidency (1990-1992) at the first democratic elections in Montenegro. With the PhD in Telecommunication Engineering, Milica Pejanović-Djurišić continuously pursued her academic career, being full professor in Telecommunications and Wireless Communications at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Montenegro and Director of its Research Centre for ICT. Prof. Pejanović-Djurišić has achieved significant research results that have been published in three books and in more then 250 scientific papers. She also has considerable industry experience being President of the Board of „Telekom Montenegro“(1999-2002), as well as President of the Board of the first Montenegriin Internet provider (2001-2002). She has been working as a consultant in the field of telecommunications, being engaged as an expert for European Commission, ITU and participating in a number of global professional associations and initiatives in the field of info-communication technologies.

  • H.E. Mr. Borut Pahor

    President, Slovenia


    President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor has a degree in political science, with a focus on international relations. During his long political career, he has been elected member of the European Parliament, and has served as President of the National Assembly and Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia. In December 2012, he was elected the fourth President of the Republic of Slovenia by 67.37 per cent of voters. Throughout his political career, President Pahor has remained a staunch believer in the ever-closer Union, united, free and in peace. He sees the future in a more closely integrated Europe, competitive in the global market and better equipped for coping with global challenges. To achieve this goal, he believes that Europe needs to define its long-term vision, which can only be done through a broader debate – through a new Convention. President Pahor sees a long term vision in the so-called »United States of Europe«, a sui generis political Union founded on the consensus of all its citizens. The course of further integration in Europe cannot follow the U. S. pattern of »melting pot«, but its own unique concept of federalism based on the balance between unity and diversity. President Pahor is concerned that in the absence of a long-term vision the EU might experience gradual loosening of common policies and loss of citizens' trust in the united Europe, which could undermine the foundations of peace, safety and prosperity on the Old Continent. Signs of this could already be seen during the recent migration crisis whereby the European Union proved unable to address the crisis rapidly and efficiently. The migration crisis, according to President Pahor, is a clear indication that the institutional framework of the EU needs to be improved. He therefore calls for a wider public debate on the future of Europe.

  • Amb. Miodrag Vlahović

    Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro


    Born in Djakovica, Kosovo, 1961. Lawyer, Law School in Podgorica, University of Montenegro. Post-graduate studies in Leiden, Holland, 1991. Founder and conceptualist of STUDEKS (“Students' Experiment”) Cultural Center, in Podgorica (then Titograd), 1985; International Secretary & member of federal presidency, Socialist Youth Union of Yugoslavia (SSOJ), Belgrade, 1986-1988; Founder, Citizens Committee for Peace (Montenegrin Peace Movement), 1991-92. Organizer of the first peace rally in Montenegro, July 17, 1991; International Secretary, Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (LSCG), 1992-1993; Member of Parliament (Republic of Montenegro),1992-1994; Columnist, “Monitor” weekly, 1991-1993 & 1999-2000; Founder-member of CEDEM – Center for Democracy & Human Rights, 1998; Director, CeRS – Center for Regional Studies, 1999; President, Movement for Independent Montenegro, May-November, 1999; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, July 2004 - November 2006; Ambassador of Montenegro to USA, Canada and Iceland, December 2006 to July 2010; President of Cdu, Montenegrin Democratic Union, June 2014 - November 2016; Columnist, daily "Pobjeda", from 2014. Ambassador in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.

  • Dr. Valbona Zeneli

    Director, Black Sea Eurasia Program, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Germany


    Dr. Valbona Zeneli is the director of the Black Sea and Eurasia program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, based in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Dr. Zeneli holds a PhD in International Political Economy from the University of Studies of Bari, Italy, a postgraduate studies degree on International Marketing from Georgetown University, Washington D.C, and a B.Sc. in Business Administration from the University of Bologna, Italy She is widely published on topics related to European and Transatlantic security, economic security, international development, and anticorruption. A native of Albania, she speaks English, Italian, and German.

  • Dr. David Shahnazaryan

    Senior Analyst, Regional Studies Center (RSC), Armenia


    Dr. David Shahnazaryan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, is a Senior Analyst, providing strategic guidance, innovative analysis, and specific support for the Regional Studies Center (RSC), an independent “think tank” located in Yerevan, Armenia. As a prominent experts on the region, he is widely cited by various media outlets in Armenia, throughout the former Soviet Union, including the South Caucasus region, and internationally, and is a regular commentator for leading publications in Europe, Turkey the United Kingdom, the United, Ukraine and Georgia. Dr. Shahnazaryan has also supported projects focused on security within the broader Black Sea region and the Middle East, and is an active contributor of developing and deepening Armenian relations with the EU, USA and NATO. David Shahnazaryan is also the Founder & Chairman of the Center for Legal and Political Studies “Concord,” and is a former two-term deputy in the Armenian Parliament (1991-1995 and 1995-1999). He has also held several senior-level posts in the Armenian government, serving as the Ambassador of the President of Armenia on Special Missions and Special Representative of the President of Armenia from 1992-1995, and as the Armenian Minister of National Security from 1994-1995.

  • Mr. Robert Pszczel

    Programme Officer, Public Diplomacy Division, NATO HQ


    Graduate of London School of Economics and Warsaw University (international relations). After a short career in the media he joined Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1990. Worked in Brussels, including in the Polish Delegation to NATO (Political Counsellor). Member of the Polish team for accession talks (1997-99). Later Senior Press Officer in Press and Media, IS, NATO HQ. In period 2010-2015 he was the Director of the NATO Information Office (NIO) in Moscow (currently Acting Head of NIO).

  • Mr. Timothy Judah

    Special Correspondent, The Economist, UK


    Mr. Timothy Judah covers the Balkans, and sometimes other places, for the Economist. For much of 2014-15 though he was in Ukraine, covering the story for the New York Review of Books and writing a book which was published in December called: In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine. He is the author of three books on the Balkans: The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia and Kosovo: War & Revenge. The third, Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know was published at the end of 2008. From 1990 to 1991 he lived in Bucharest and covered the aftermath of communism in Romania and Bulgaria for The Times and The Economist. After that he moved to Belgrade for both publications in order to cover the war in Yugoslavia. He moved back to London in 1995 but continues to travel frequently to the region. In 2009 he was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the South East European Research Unit of the European Institute at the London School of Economics, where he developed the concept of the “Yugosphere”. He is the president of the Board of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and a member of the board of the Kosovar Stability Initiative.

  • H.E. Mr. Predrag Bošković

    Minister of Defense, Montenegro


    H.E. Mr. Predrag Bosković was born in Pljevlja (Montenegro) on March 12, 1972. He finished primary and secondary school in Podgorica. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, the University of Montenegro, in 1996. He received his MA in Econometrics and Politics from the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade in 1999. He published numerous research papers and publications and participated in the implementation of major development projects in Montenegro. He speaks English. He started his professional career as a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Economics in 1996. Throughout his career, he held senior positions, including being a member of the Parliament of Montenegro and serving as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, Minister of Economy, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Minister of Education in the Government of Montenegro and the President of the Board of Directors of the Coal Mine in Pljevlja. He was part of IVP (international visitor program) in USA in 2003. He has been leading the Women’s Handball Club since 2006. From 2011 to 2016, he was the President of the Board of the Montenegrin Handball Association. During this period, the club and national team he led achieved the best results in the history of Montenegrin handball, including the Olympic silver medal. His commitment and success in this sport have been recognized internationally. He became the Vice President of the European Handball Federation in November 2016. He is married.

  • Prof. Dr. Fabrizio W. Luciolli

    President, Atlantic Treaty Association and Italian Atlantic Committee, Italy


    Prof. Dr. Fabrizio W. Luciolli is Professor of International Security Organizations, Military Policy, and National Security Policy at the Center for High Defense Studies of the Italian Ministry of Defense (2000-2015). He is a regular lecturer in various national and international, military, and academic institutions. Coordinator of Training Courses for military officers and diplomats in the Western Balkans and Middle East, he is Director of NATO and EU cooperation projects in Central and Southeastern Europe and in the Mediterranean countries. Prof. Luciolli is also a Consultant on foreign affairs and security matters to various Governments and Members of Parliament as well as Advisor for International and Institutional Relations of private groups. He is the author of several papers and articles published in national and foreign journals.

  • Dr. Michael Carpenter

    Senior Director, Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, USA


    Dr. Michael Carpenter is Senior Director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Carpenter is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Dr. Carpenter served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and as Director for Russia at the National Security Council. Previously, he was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, where he worked in a number of different positions, including Deputy Director of the Office of Russian Affairs, Speechwriter to the Under Secretary of Political Affairs, and Advisor on the South Caucasus. Dr. Carpenter also served abroad in the U.S. Embassies in Poland, Slovenia, and Barbados. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.

  • H.E. Prof. Dr. Srđan Darmanović

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro


    H.E. Prof. Dr. Srđan Darmanović was born in 1961. He is a university professor, a founding father and the dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, the author of two books and a large number of research articles, as well as the co-author of several significant specialized books. Prof. Dr. Darmanović is a member of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission and the international study group of the Aspen Institute. He is also a guest lecturer in several international universities. He was a member of the Federal Parliament of FR Yugoslavia and served for many years as the Ambassador of Montenegro to the United States of America.

  • Dr. Greg Simons

    Associate Professor, Uppsala Center for Russian and Euroasian Studies, Sweden


    Dr. Greg Simons has a PhD from the University of Canterbury in 2004, Associate Professor Greg Simons is currently a researcher at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, an analyst at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm, Sweden and a lecturer at the Department of Communication Science at Turiba University in Riga, Latvia. His research interests include: hybrid warfare and Information Operations, changing political dynamics and relationships, journalism and mass media, public diplomacy, political marketing, crisis management communications, media and armed conflict, and the Russian Orthodox Church. He also researches the relationships and connections between information, politics and armed conflict more broadly, such as the GWOT and Arab Spring.

  • Dr. Sandro Knezović

    Senior Research Associate, Institute for Development and International Relations, Croatia


    Dr. Sandro Knezović is a Senior Research Associate at the Department for International Economic and Political Relations of the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb (Croatia). He earned his academic degree in Political Science at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb in 2008. His research focuses on IR topics, especially those related to international and European security and defence (CFSP/CSDP), the EU and NATO enlargement and their impact on the region of Southeast Europe. He was the first Croatian visiting research fellow at the renowned EU Institute for Security Studies in Paris and a visiting lecturer at several universities in Japan. He additionally enriched his knowledge and research capacity through various research fellowships in the United States, Norway, Turkey and other countries. He is a member of numerous international expert teams and research networks and has participated as a researcher in many international research projects (including EU Framework programmes). He has published a number of research and professional papers related to the field of his expertise and to other related topics.

  • Mr. Dragan Šormaz

    Head of the Delegation, National Assembly of Serbia to the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, Serbia


    Mr. Dragan Šormaz is an MP in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the Head of the Delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Mr. Šormaz is a member of many committees, including the Foreign Affairs Committee, the European Integration Committee and the Security Services Control Committee. He is also the deputy member in the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues. Mr. Šormaz is the Head of the Parliamentary friendship group of the National Assembly of Serbia with the United States of America, as well as a member of the Parliamentary friendship group with Germany.

  • Dr. Miloš Šolaja

    Director, Center for International Relations, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina


    Born in Banja Luka. Studied in Belgrade and Zagreb, postgraduate studies and PhD in international relations graduated in Zagreb (Croatia). Used to work as a journalist 1979 – 2001. (Glas; Banja Luka, Oslobođenje, Tanjug, Reuters) Founded and had been running International Press Center Banja Luka 1997 - 2009. Founded the Center for International Relations 2001. Topics have been dealing with regional cooperation on security in South East Europe, NATO, PfP and Euro-Atlantic Relations, countries for SEE including BiH and Euro-Atlantic integrations, democracy and public opinion in SEE, security standards etc. Published books – studies: “America in the Balkans Vortex” 2013, “Balkans in Transatlantic Rift” 2006, “Political Orientation of Voters Based on Media of Mass Communications” 1997. “Youth and Security: Between Threat and Participation” (2015) Published more than 65 reviewed works in international and domestic scientific journals and collections of works on international relations and security and collective defense integrations. Professor of international relations, international security and foreign policy - University of Banja Luka – Faculty of Political Sciences. Participated on many (more than 100) conferences worldwide dominantly as either conference or panels introducer.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Darren Evans

    CEO, Julius Management and Advisory Group, USA


    C. Darren Evans is the CEO of Julius Management and Advisory Group. He is a retired Army Special Forces Officer with over 20 years of diverse experience from leading Special Operations Forces in combat and shaping U.S. foreign policy as a Defense Attaché to doing business in developing and post-conflict countries. Julius Management and Advisory Group is a niche management design company that assists clients design management solutions to operationalize strategic visions and priorities. Julius serves as a platform to network capabilities across the political, economic, cultural, and security spectrums in complex environments.

  • Ms. Valerie Hopkins

    Journalist, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)


    Valerie Hopkins is a Kosovo-based journalist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She also freelances regularly from across the Balkans for Foreign Policy, Politico and Al Jazeera. Previously, she worked as web editor for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and for Reuters news agency in Belgrade, Serbia. Before launching her career as a journalist, Hopkins worked for the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has an M.A. from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. International Relations from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

  • H.E. Mrs. Marina Pendeš

    Minister of Defense, Bosnia and Herzegovina


    H.E. Mrs. Marina Pendeš has held leadership positions in defense institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than a decade. She has been serving as the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2015, and she is a member of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prior to this, she has twice been the Deputy Minister of Defense for Policy and Planning, as well as for Resource Management of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Earlier, she was the Minister of Physical Planning, Restructuring and Return of the Central Bosnia Canton. In the beginning of her career as a graduate engineer at the Military Technical Faculty in Zagreb, she served as an independent constructor in the military industry in Travnik. She is a member of Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ BiH). She is one of the prominent activists of NATO-PfP Initiative “Women Leaders in Defense and Security”, of the implementation of the UN 1325 Resolution “Women, Peace and Security”, as well as of EPP Women projects in the European People’s Party. H.E. Mrs. Pendeš is a strong advocate and one of the leaders of the Euro-Atlantic Integration process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She attended many managerial seminars in the country and abroad. She speaks German and English. She was awarded municipal coat of arms of her hometown Vitez for her social engagement. In addition, she was also awarded for ‘National Defense’ of the First class by the Republic of Hungary.

  • Dr. Nadezhda Arbatova

    Head of Department, European Political Studies, IMEMO, Russia


    Dr. Nadia Arbatova (Alexandrova-Arbatova) holds a PhD in Political Sciences and is currently Head of Department on European Political Studies at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences. She is also Director of the Discussion Forum “European Dialogues”, Vice-President of the Russian Pugwash Committee, a Member of Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and author of numerous publications including four individual monographs and brochures on the EU-Russia relations, European security and Russia’s foreign policy. Her professional interests include: international relations, European integration, the EU-Russia relations, European security, Russian foreign policy, conflict prevention.

  • Mr. Paul Schwartz

    Research Analyst, CNA and Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS, USA


    Mr. Paul Schwartz is a research analyst with CNA's International Affairs Group. As a member of CNA's Russia Program, he specializes in the Russian military and its defense and security policy. His research focuses especially on Russia’s military capabilities, its recent military campaigns in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and its overall geostrategic outlook. Mr. Schwartz is an expert on Russian security relationships within the European and Asian-Pacific theaters of operation, and in this context he has analyzed Russia’s recent interactions with Europe, China and other powers. He has recently authored a number of articles and reports on topics ranging from Russia-China defense relations, the Ukraine crisis, Russia’s INF Treaty violations, Russia’s military modernization programs, Russian science and technology, and the capabilities of selected Russian weapon systems. He is also a frequent speaker on the Russian military and its defense and security policy, and is regularly consulted on such matters by members of the media. Mr. Schwartz is also currently a non-resident scholar with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

  • Dr. Filip Ejdus

    Marie Curie Research Fellow, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS), UK


    Filip Ejdus is Marie Curie Research Fellow at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS), University of Bristol, UK, and an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Serbia. He has been closely involved with security policy community as a board member of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, academic coordinator at the Belgrade Security Forum and the co-chair of the Regional Stability in South East Europe Study Group at the PfP Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Studies Institutes.

  • H.E. Mrs. Andreja Katič

    Minister of Defense, Slovenia


    H.E. Mrs. Andreja Katič was born on 22 December 1969 in Slovenj Gradec. In 1996, she graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Maribor with a thesis on immissions and relations between legal protection in rem and in personam, and obtained the title Bachelor of Laws. After completing her studies, she became the employee of the Municipality of Velenje, where she worked in the capacity of Director of Municipal Administration. She was member of the Administrative Board of the University of Maribor and the Council of the Velenje Health Care Centre, as well as president of the Association of Secretaries of Slovenian municipalities. She also chaired the asssembly of the Velenje Municipal Utility Company (Komunalno podjetje Velenje) and electricity distribution company Elektro Maribor. In the 2014 parliamentary election, she was elected to become member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia and acted as its Vice President until appointed Minister of Defence. On 13 May 2015, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia appointed her the next Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia. She has active knowledge of English and Croatian, and working knowledge of German. She lives with her family in Velenje.

  • Mr. Janusz Bugajski

    Senior Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), USA


    Mr. Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC and host of the television show “New Bugajski Hour” broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski has authored 20 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations and is a columnist for several media outlets. His recent books include Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks (with Margarita Assenova) (2016); Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014); Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement (2013); and Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010).

  • Mr. James Appathurai

    Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO


    Mr. James Appathurai was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary General in December 2010. As DASG, he is responsible for NATO’s political relations with countries across the globe, international organizations, enlargement, and arms control. He provides policy advice on political issues affecting the security of the Alliance. He is responsible for implementing and developing NATO’s relations with all its partner countries and organizations, including through Political Agreements, Partnership Cooperation Programs, and other bilateral and multilateral arrangements. As the Secretary General’s Special Representative, he is responsible for carrying forward the Alliance’s policy in the two strategically important regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Mr. Appathurai previously served as NATO’s Spokesperson from 2004 to 2010. Prior to that he served as Deputy Head and Senior Planning Officer in the Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section of NATO’s Political Affairs Division from 1998 to 2004. He served in the Canadian Defence Department from 1994 to 1998.


    President, Croatia


    H.E. Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has become the first female president of Croatia in January 2015. Before that, she was NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy from July 2011. Having previously served as Croatia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and also as Ambassador of Croatia to the United States (2008 – 2011), Mrs. Grabar-Kitarović is well-versed in Euro-Atlantic diplomacy and security issues. H.E. Mrs. Grabar-Kitarović is a Doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, which is also an academic institution where she obtained a master’s degree in international relations. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the George Washington University, a Luksic Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a visiting scholar at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. She is the first woman ever to be appointed Assistant Secretary General of NATO.


    President, Atlantic Council of Montenegro


    Dr. Savo Kentera is the President of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro, a foreign policy think tank and public policy group based in Podgorica, Montenegro. He was elected vice-president of the Atlantic Treaty Association at the General Assembly held in Berlin in 2008. He is the founder of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro. He was Secretary General of this organization until 2008 when he has been appointed President of the Atlantic Council. Before joining the Atlantic Council, Dr. Kentera has been the Director of the Center for International Relations of Montenegro. He directs an annual intensive educational program in international security for foreign policy professionals of the region. Dr. Kentera established the Security Magazine, a leading publication devoted to assessing major security challenges for Montenegro and its neighbors. His advice is frequently sought by government, media, and the public on various aspects of Montenegro’s post-independence nation-building and security sector reform process. Dr. Kentera has lectured and published on several issues related to defense transformation and security integration for South East Europe. He holds a PhD degree in Security Studies, University of Belgrade. He has participated in programs in the United States at the Institute for National Security, and at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His fields of interest are international relations and security studies and terrorism in particular.