Lecture at the NATO Defense College “The Western Balkans”

On 3 June 2014, Populari’s Policy Researcher Katarina Cvikl delivered a lecture within “The Western Balkans” course at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, analysing the latest socio-political unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Speaking at the Senior Course on the Western Balkans, Katarina shared a panel with Dr Dušan Reljić from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Starting off the lecture at which 78 military officers and government officials from 29 countries were addressed, Katarina focused on the specific dynamics characterising the situation on the ground in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). She presented the February 2014 protests in the country and analysed the socio-economic and political factors underlying the unrest, as well as possible ways forward. By bringing up the prospect of EU membership, she opened the floor for Dr Reljić, who then addressed the bigger picture of Western Balkan regional dynamics, including the specific international currents, interests and actors influencing the region and their roles.

The one and a half hour lecture was followed by a lively discussion of the panellists with the course members, during which the latter mostly focused on future potential factors of (in)stability both in BiH specifically, as well as the region more broadly. The afternoon seminar that was also run by the panellists, touched upon more specific issues and more detailed explanation of the analysis outlined during the lecture. The seminar was highly engaging and primarily formatted as an exchange of opinion as some of the course members in the group were also able to provide their own input and thoughts going back to the 1990s and early 2000s when they were stationed in BiH with various military operations.

By delivering the lecture and engaging in discussions following it, Katarina animated the course members, and raised their interest in a country lately mostly portrayed as the one lagging behind the rest of the region.