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Successful transfer of knowledge during the International Summer School in Šipan


The new role of NATO and challenges in the Western Balkan

Our 16th International Summer School, that is traditionally being held in the island of Šipan, with this year's topic: 'The new role of NATO and challenges in the Western Balkan' was held during the last week in June in Hotel Sipan, with the support of NATO PDD and International Institute for Peace from Vienna. After the President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia Prof. Radovan Vukadinovic greeted all the speakers and participants, the opening presentations were held by NATO PDD Program Officer Zsolt Rabai and Assistant of Croatian Minister of European and Foreign Affairs Gordan Bakota. The discussion was focused on the role of NATO and the process of stabilization of the Western Balkan countries.

Interesting debate continued with the 'American session' Professor Lee Kendall Metcalf from Florida State University, US, talked about the impact of Trump's policy to the Western Balkans, while Col. Robert Duggleby presented top 6 global security threats, with frozen conflicts being one of the major security threat. Participants from all around the world really enjoy the fruitful discussion.

During the afternoon 'Russian session' of the first day of our International Summer School we heard official Russian stands on Russia's relations with Europe, more specifically Western Balkans. Our speakers were First Secretary at the Russian Embassy in Zagreb Dmitry Maltsev and Alexander Pivovarenko from the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, who stressed that Russia is interested in peace and stability in the Western Balkan region. The panel discussion was moderated by our Vice-President Monika Begovic.

Additional information on the role of NATO and new challenegs in the Western Balkan region were given through a video link by the former Director of NATO Information Office in Moscow Robert Pszczel from NATO PDD, who introduced the audience more specifically on NATO-Russia relations and NATO strategy towards the Western Balkan region, especially after Montenegro joined NATO.

During the 'Western Balkan' session our speakers from Macedonia and Serbia talked about NATO 'Open Door' policy and enlargement to the countries in the region. Professors from Macedonia: Prof. Blerim Reka, Prof. Ylber Sela and Prof. Jasmina Trajkoska expressed the need for Macedonia to join the Euroatlantic integrations, a process needed for the security and stability in the region and wider. Prof. Zoran Kekovic from Serbia repeated the will of Serbia to be a partner of NATO and keep the neutrality, expressing that it's in Serbian interest to maintain stability in the SEE region.

The morning session of the second day of our International Summer School continued with the presentation by Sinisa Begovic MBA, consultant and expert in e-business, who introduced into the topic of cyber security, cyberwarfare, cyber-terrorism and also cyber crime in business sector, and it is reflected to the government institutiona and organizationa and could possibly endanger sensitive information.

Dr. Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace from Vienna, held a very inspirational speech on the future of European Union. Mr. Swoboda opened the issue on the role of the EU in the Western Balkan region and its possible enlargement, saying that Europe should first solve the crisis within before it opens to new members.

Migration issue was the general issue that Stephanie Fenkart, Director of the International Institute for Peace, tackled during the presentation on European activities in Africa, based on the Uganda case. Ms. Fenkart stressed that migration is actually not reflecting reality in Europe. 'There are 65 million people forcibly displaced, and the biggest host country is Turkey, and more than 50% migrants are children', Ms. Fenkart stressed.

How can a country's health system be a possible security risk - was discussed during the presentation given by Prof. Boris Vucelic, who used a case study of a small NATO member state Croatia.

Spanish Ambassador to Croatia Eduardo Aznar held a presentation pointing out the main aspects of public diplomacy with the reflection of Spain towards the Western Balkan region.

During his presentation on new threats to Euro-Atlantic security Prof. Stefano Pilotto from University of Trieste, stressed the following ones that make the Euro-Atlantic security and stability more fragile: international situation today, uncertainty in US foreign policy, crisis in and around the EU, relations with Russia, immigrants and unstable situation in the Western Balkan region.

Morning session of our third day of the International Summer School ended with the interesting presentation on the Middle East, given by Itai Reuveni from the Institute for NGO research from Jeruzalem, Izrael. Reuveni talked about many instabilities in the region of Middle East, mentioned ISIS as the biggest cause of instabilities, and stressed the importance of soft power when influencing public. These instabilities affect the Western Balkan region in economy, with terrorism, refugees, local instabilities and creation of new alliances.

Our International Summer School in Sipan, with the topic 'The new role of NATO and challenges in the Western Balkan' officially ended on 30 June 2017. We are proud to say that during our five days we had a pleasure to listen to distinguished speakers from the whole world, experts in international relations and international security, together with participants - young leaders from the whole world. We thank our partners for the support - NATO PDD and International Institute for Peace from Vienna.