Speakers


Mr. Mark Boris Andrijanič

Public Policy Associate, Central and Eastern Europe, Uber

Mark Boris Andrijanič is a lawyer and an expert in public affairs from Slovenia. He is a member of Uber’s Public Policy team, responsible for Central and Eastern Europe where he leads Uber’s efforts to establish partnerships with governments and cities aimed at promoting digital transformation and smart mobility solutions. Prior to joining Uber, Mr. Andrijanič was a visiting fellow at the Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies in Brussels, where his research focused on the European Union’s (EU) foreign and energy policy. Mr. Andrijanič worked closely with members of the European Parliament and senior officials at the European Commission on some of the key foreign policy issues facing the EU. Before coming to Brussels, he advised the government of Sierra Leone on natural resource governance reform. In his native Slovenia, he co-founded and led some of the leading nongovernmental organizations aimed at promoting active citizenship and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Andrijanič became a David Rockefeller fellow at the Trilateral Commission in 2017.

Mr. Andrijanič received his master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford and has a degree in law from the University of Ljubljana.

Dr. Dimitar Bechev

Research Fellow, Center of Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Dr. Dimitar Bechev is a research fellow at the Center of Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and the director of the European Policy Institute, a think tank based in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

Dr. Bechev has published extensively, in both academic and policy format, on European Union foreign relations, the politics of Turkey and the Balkans, Russian foreign policy, and energy security. His book Rival Power, published by Yale University Press in 2017, explores Russia’s role in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey). He has held research and teaching positions at Oxford and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, as well as visiting fellowships at Harvard and the London School of Economics. From 2010 to 2014, he was the head of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) office in Sofia.

Dr. Bechev is a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera Online, Oxford Analytica, POLITICO, and EUObserver. His quotes have appeared in leading newspapers such as the Financial Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He holds a DPhil in international relations from the University of Oxford.

Mr. Janusz Bugajski

Senior Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis

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 twenty books on Europe, Russia, and transatlantic relations and is a columnist for several media outlets. His recent books include Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks (co-authored with Margarita Assenova, 2016); Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014); Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and US Disengagement (2013); and Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010).

H.E. Ditmir Bushati

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Albania

Mr. Bushati was elected as member of the assembly for Tirana constituency and was re-elected in the elections of June 23, 2013. He served as chair of the parliamentary committee for European Integration (2011-2013) and was member of the joint European Union (EU)-Albania Parliamentary (2009-2013). He is an elected member of Socialist Party Chairmanship since 2011.

Bushati holds a law degree awarded with distinction from University of Tirana and a master of laws (LLM) in public international law from Leiden University, Netherlands. Bushati was a research fellow in public international law at Tobias Michael Carel Asser Institute, Hague, Netherlands. He spent also one year as a TEMPUS fellow in Athens, Greece at the European Public Law Center, specializing in EU law. Bushati has received diploma from Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Academy of American and International Law, Dallas; Abo Academy University, Finland.

Before becoming involved in politics, Bushati was a civil society activist. He served as the executive director of the European Movement in Albania (EMA). Additionally, he used to hold the position of the director for the Approximation of Legislation at the Ministry of European Integration and, at the same time, was one of the members of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiation team. Further, he held other positions, such as adviser to the deputy prime minister for European Affairs, legal adviser to the Constitutional Court, in the office of the president of the Republic of Albania, and also as a research fellow at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, the Hague, and the Netherlands.

H.E. Igor Crnadak

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In March 2015, Igor Crnadak was appointed minister of foreign affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From May 2015 to November 2015, he was the chairman of the Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe.

Since 1999, he has been a member of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) and PDP’s spokesperson in the period from 2001 to 2004. In 2005, Mr. Crnadak was appointed executive director of PDP and later on, in 2009, elected PDP secretary for international relations. In the last three election cycles, he served as PDP’s head of election headquarters and, from 2011 to 2015, he served as the secretary general of PDP. Since 1990, Mr. Crnadak worked as a journalist, anchor, producer, and radio editor, writing for various print media outlets. From 1996 to 1998 he was correspondent for the Voice of America from Banja Luka. He served as a councilor of the Banja Luka City Assembly from 2000 to 2004 and as a member of the European Integration Committee of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska. From 2007 to 2009, he was a deputy minister for defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina and, on behalf of the Ministry of Defense, he was responsible for the international cooperation and was the chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina NATO coordination team.

Igor Crnadak graduated from the faculty of economics, University of Banja Luka with post-graduate studies at the Department of Global Markets and the European Union.

H.E. Srdjan Darmanovic

Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Montenegro

Srdjan Darmanović became minister of foreign affairs of Montenegro in December 2016. Prior to this position, he served as the ambassador of Montenegro to the United States (December 2010 to October 2016).

An associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Montenegro, Minister Darmanović was previously the founder and first dean of the university’s faculty of political science (2003-10). He was also the founder and president of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM), a nongovernmental organization and think tank based in Podgorica, Montenegro (1997-2010), and he has been a guest lecturer at various universities in Washington, DC (including Johns Hopkins), as well as in Rome, Hamburg, and Belgrade, where he was a member of the political science faculty.

In addition, Minister Darmanović was a former member of parliament in the Federal Parliament of the former Yugoslavia (1992-96), an international research group member for the Aspen Institute (1997-98), and he has testified twice before the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress (1998, 2000).

Minister Darmanović has been a member of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe since 2005, working in the commission’s Council for Democratic Elections and Sub-Committee for Democratic Institutions. He is also the author of two books—Malformed Democracy: the Drama of Yugoslav Post-Communism (1993) and Real-Socialism: Anatomy of a Collapse (1996)—and has co-authored several books and written various articles in publications such as the DC-based Journal of Democracy and the East European Constitutional Review in New York City and Budapest.

Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo

President, National Committee on American Foreign Policy

Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo became president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in August 2015. A career foreign service officer, Ambassador DiCarlo had a distinguished career as a US diplomat, holding positions at the US Department of State, National Security Council, and the US Information Agency. Her specialized expertise includes Russia and the former Soviet space, Southeastern Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the management of broad multilateral initiatives.

Ambassador DiCarlo is a former US deputy permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), with the rank and status of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. In this capacity, she represented the United States at the UN Security Council and General Assembly.

At the Department of State, Ambassador DiCarlo served as deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, overseeing US policy toward Southeast Europe during the critical period of negotiations on Kosovo’s status.

Ambassador DiCarlo is a recipient of the US Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the Department of State’s Sustained Superior Achievement, Superior Honor, and Meritorious Awards. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merits from the president of the Republic of Kosovo and the Presidential Medal “Gjergji Kastriot Skenderbeu” from the president of the Republic of Albania. She received an honorary doctorate from the University Haxhi Zeka in Peja, Kosovo.

Before joining the US Foreign Service, she was a member of the Secretariat of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She holds a BA, MA, and PhD from Brown University and speaks Russian and French.

H.E. Nikola Dimitrov

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Macedonia

Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Dimitrov is an experienced diplomat, having served in the Diplomatic Corps of Macedonia for nearly two decades.

Starting his diplomatic career in 1996 as a human rights officer in the Macedonian Foreign Ministry, Dimitrov has extensive experience of public service in foreign and security policy, international dispute settlement, and conflict resolution.

Dimitrov took office at The Hague Institute upon the completion of his duties as ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in April 2014.

Dimitrov studied law at the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, where he was awarded with the 26th of July Award established by the Frank Manning Foundation, and received his master of laws (LLM) degree in international law from the University of Cambridge inn the United Kingdom. Dimitrov is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Defense and Peace Studies at the St. Cyril and Methodius University and completed the Public Leaders in Southeast Europe Executive Education Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ambassador Dimitrov has published a book and a number of articles on foreign policy, national security, human rights, and the rule of law. He has broad experience in public diplomacy, participating in public debates and giving lectures at numerous universities on NATO enlargement, European integration, Southeast Europe, international dispute settlement, and conflict resolution, both in Europe and in the United States.

Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard

Chairman, Gelbard International Consulting

During a career in the US Foreign Service, Robert held numerous senior foreign policy positions, including as the president’s special representative for the Balkans, ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, principal deputy assistant secretary for inter-American affairs, deputy assistant secretary for South American affairs, director for Southern African affairs and deputy director for Western European affairs. Robert also served as the US government representative to the Paris Club and as President George H. W. Bush’s personal representative at the 1992 San Antonio Summit. His Foreign Service assignments, other than Washington, DC, included Paris, Manila and Porto Alegre, Brazil. He also was a staff member of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Robert was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia.

Robert was a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential National Security Transition Team and a foreign policy advisor to President Barack Obama during his election campaign.

H.E. Enver Hoxhaj

Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Kosovo

On February 22, 2011, Dr. Enver Hoxhaj was appointed minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Kosovo.

During the negotiation process (2005-2007), led by the United Nations Special Envoy, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, Enver Hoxhaj participated in all meetings as a member of the Kosovar delegation. The Ahtisaari document resulted in a Comprehensive Settlement regarding Kosovo’s independence.

As head of the Commission for Education, Culture, and Youth in the Kosovo Assembly, he acted as a strong voice for issues relating to education, youth, and the modernization of Kosovo.

On January 9, 2008, Enver Hoxhaj was appointed minister of education, science, and technology.

Enver Hoxhaj graduated in 1993 from the faculty of history at the University of Prishtina. He continued his post-graduate studies at the University of Vienna Geisteswissenschaftliche Fakultät, studying courses in history and politics. After a long period of research between 1994 and 2000 at the Universities of Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Bologna, Florence, and Paris, he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation.

During his stay in Austria, he was a scientific researcher at the University of Vienna and leader of a research team on the Balkans at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte (1996-2000).

Between 2003 and 2004 he was a scientific research fellow at the London School of Economics Center for Study of the Global Governance. He has published academic papers in English, German, and Albanian about issues of ethnicity, nationalism, identity, and ethnic conflict.

Mr. Astrit Istrefi

Executive Director, The Balkan Forum

Astrit Istrefi is the executive director of The Balkan Forum, a cross-sectoral platform designed to advance sustainable cross-border dialogue on economic development, democratic values, and the rule of law in the Balkans.

During his twenty years of experience in civil society sector, he has focused on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and development-related issues in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Istrefi has also lead strategic development and management/oversight of complex programs, budgets, and teams in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, United Kingdom, and United States. This includes working with Care International, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) in Pristina; International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Kabul and Washington, DC; and Saferworld in London.

His contributions to issues related to peace, security, and development include research, advocacy, building partnership and cooperation with and among key actors, and participation in high-profile conferences and debates in the capitals of the Western Balkans and Central Asian countries, as well as Berlin, Brussels, New York, Istanbul, and London. They further include interaction with government officials, international development agencies, missions, and member states including the European Union, the United Nations, and NATO.

Issue areas include democratization, civil society development, elections, conflict resolution, community security, inclusive political processes, security and small arms, and linking community-level peace and security with national and international policies and frameworks.


Mr. Damir Marusic

Executive Editor, The American Interest

Damir Marusic is the executive editor at the American Interest, a bi-monthly magazine of foreign and domestic policy and politics based in Washington, DC, where he contributes to the group blog AI Cont’d. Born in Croatia, and having grown up around the world in places such as North Korea and Cyprus, he has a keen interest in the limits and possibilities of state- and nation-building, which are the topics he most frequently writes about. His writing has appeared in the American Interest, Doublethink, and the Wall Street Journal. He has an MA from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies in international economics and policy.

Ms. Hedvig Morvai

Executive Director, European Fund for the Balkans

Hedvig Morvai is the executive director of the European Fund for the Balkans. Prior to this, she was director of the Citizens’ Pact for South Eastern Europe, a regional initiative focused on cross-border and regional cooperation of local communities and nongovernmental organizations in South Eastern Europe. She began her civil activism in 1997, as a founder and vice president of the Hungarian Student Association of Vojvodina. She was associated with the Student Union of Serbia and the Novi Sad-based Center for Multiculturalism, coordinated the Carpathian Information Exchange Network–AGORA and later Partnership for Democratic Changes-Novi Sad office, and she was part of the EXIT Festival team. She studied law and communications and followed numerous courses and alternative education programs. She is an alumna of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence in the scope of the Council of Europe Network of Schools for Political Studies. She is an advisory board member of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, of the State of Exit Foundation and member of the Epos Network. In 2006, she was awarded the Winning Freedom Award by the Belgrade-based Maja Marsicevic-Tasic Foundation.

Mr. Cyril Muller

Vice President, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank

Cyril Muller assumed the position of vice president for Europe and Central Asia (ECA) in July 2015. He leads relations with thirty countries in the region through a portfolio of projects, technical assistance, reimbursable advisory services, and grants. He oversees the implementation of the strategy for the region, which focuses on two main pillars in order to achieve the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity: 1) improving competitiveness and promoting shared prosperity through jobs; and 2) deepening environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability, including through climate action.

Mr. Muller, a Swiss national, was previously vice president for External and Corporate Affairs (ECR) since November 2011, where he managed relationships with key stakeholders for the World Bank Group, including multilateral organizations and fora, such as the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) institutions, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Group of 7 (G7), and Group of 20 (G20), as well as the media, civil society, foundations, parliamentarians, and the private sector. In this position, Mr. Muller also led the World Bank’s dialogue with the EU, United States and Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and Israel.

Mr. Muller was director for Banking and Debt Management in the World Bank Treasury from 2010 to 2011, where he led the team responsible for modernizing the financial products available to member countries and advisory services on public debt management. From 2005 to 2010, he served as the World Bank’s special representative for Europe, based in Paris. His main responsibilities were managing the dialogue with European governments and institutions. From 1991 through 2000, Mr. Muller held a range of positions in country operations across the World Bank, including in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Prior to joining the Bank in 1991, he was a senior economist at the Swiss Federal Department for Economic Affairs, working on multilateral trade negotiations and international finance. Mr. Muller holds economics degrees from Neuchatel University in Switzerland and from New York University.


Ms. Barbara Surk

Contributing Writer, New York Times

Ms. Barbara Surk is a journalist reporting about countries on the European Union’s fringe, including the Balkans. She is also a former Associated Press Middle East correspondent and PoliticoEurope news editor.

Ambassador Alexander Vershbow

Distinguished Fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council

Ambassador Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Ambassador Vershbow was the deputy secretary general of NATO from February 2012 to October 2016.

Prior to his post at NATO, Ambassador Vershbow served for three years as the US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. In that position, he was responsible for coordinating US security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including NATO), the Middle East, and Africa.

From 1977 to 2008, Vershbow was a career member of the US Foreign Service. He served as US ambassador to NATO (1998-2001); to the Russian Federation (2001-05); and to the Republic of Korea (2005-08). He held numerous senior positions in Washington, including special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council (1994-97) and State Department director for Soviet Union affairs (1988-91). During his career, he was centrally involved in strengthening US defense relations with allies in Europe and Asia and in transforming NATO and other European security organizations to meet post-Cold War challenges. He also was involved in efforts to support democracy and human rights in the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Damon Wilson

Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council

Mr. Damon Wilson is the executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. From 2007 to 2009, Wilson served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council. He managed interagency policy on NATO, the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Eurasian energy security, and Turkey, and planned numerous presidential visits to Europe, including US-European Union and NATO summits. Wilson has also served at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq as the executive secretary and chief of staff; at the National Security Council as the director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European affairs; and as deputy director in the private office of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. Prior to serving in Brussels, Wilson worked in the US Department of State in various positions and served in Rwanda with Save the Children. He is a graduate of Duke University and completed his graduate studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. Wilson also worked with the Unaccompanied Children in Exile refugee program in Croatia and Turkey.

Mr. Hoyt Brian Yee

Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State

Hoyt Brian Yee is a career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, currently assigned to Washington, DC as deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for US relations with the countries of Central Europe and South-Central Europe. Before assuming his current duties in September 2013, he was deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia from 2010 to 2013. He served in Kabul, Afghanistan as director of the State Department’s Office of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), from 2009 to 2010. From 2006 to 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 director of the private office of NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Other foreign service positions Hoyt has held include political officer at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and at US Embassy Paris, as well as special assistant to the US special envoy for the former Yugoslavia. Hoyt was born in Redwood City, California. 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.

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