The Geo-Strategic Importance of Southeast Europe: Opportunities for U.S. Policymakers and Business Leaders
- Lisa Rhoads, Private Equity; Network 20/20 Board Member
- Daniel Vajdich, President, Yorktown Solutions
- Dr. Daniel Serwer, Academic Director of Conflict Management, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University
- Jonathan D. Katz, Resident Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
In the last few months, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Croatia have all weathered political crises. Russia has been accused of meddling in the internal affairs of Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia with the aim of derailing their Euroatlantic integration process. The crisis of the Croatian conglomerate Agrokor puts at risk sixty thousand jobs across the region. How fragile is Southeast Europe? This discussion will address the U.S. strategy in the region and what other U.S.-based nongovernmental actors, such as businesses and civil societies, can do to further support stability of this critical region.
Lisa Rhoads is managing director of a Private Equity Healthcare Advisory Company. In this role, she drives the firm’s healthcare private equity investment strategy as well as helps provides capital advisory to healthcare business across the capital structure. Previously, Lisa was a managing director with the Easton Capital Group, a venture capital firm focused on the healthcare sector. She led sourcing, due diligence, and the structuring of investments, while participating in fundraising activities for the firm. She also served on the board of numerous portfolio companies, assisting with strategy, product development, and mergers and acquisitions, and played an instrumental role in delivering a 5X increase in the valuation of key investments. Lisa is known throughout the industry for her understanding of the emerging markets. She has structured innovative technology licensing agreements with pharmaceutical and private equity partners in both China and Brazil. She was a member of Network 20/20's delegation to Southeast Europe in 2016.
Daniel Vajdich is president of Yorktown Solutions, which provides a broad range of bespoke consulting services to institutional investors with global portfolios. He is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Daniel was previously a senior national security advisor to the presidential campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Scott Walker, and Governor Mitt Romney. He worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he was the senior staffer for Europe and Eurasia and related functional issues. Prior to his time in the Senate, Daniel was a researcher in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and spent time as a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, Russia. He holds a BA from Tufts University and an MA from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Daniel speaks Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and has studied Farsi.
Professor Daniel Serwer (PhD., Princeton) directs the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a senior fellow at its Center for Transatlantic Relations and affiliated as a scholar with the Middle East Institute. His current interests focus on the civilian instruments needed to protect U.S. national security as well as transition and state-building in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. His book, Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America was published in November 2013 by Potomac Books. Formerly vice president for centers of peacebuilding innovation at the United States Institute of Peace, he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance, and gender. He was also vice president for peace and stability operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Balkans, and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans. As a minister counselor at the U.S. Department of State, Serwer directed the European office of intelligence and research and served as U.S. special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Muslims and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. From 1990-93, he was deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, leading a major diplomatic mission through the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War. Serwer holds a PhD and MA from Princeton University, an MS from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Haverford College. He speaks Italian, French, and Portuguese, as well as beginning Arabic.
Jonathan Katz is a resident fellow with The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) based in the Washington, DC office. Prior to joining GMF, from 2014-17, Katz was the deputy assistant administrator in the Europe and Eurasia Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he managed U.S. development policy, energy security, economic growth and democracy, and governance programs in Europe and Eurasia. He led USAID programs in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Eastern and Central Europe, the Black Sea and Caucasus Regions, the Western Balkans, and regional programs that included Russia. Katz served as the U.S. government co-chair of political, economic, trade and development working groups with the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Poland, Romania, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Prior to joining USAID, from 2010-14, Katz served as a senior advisor to the assistant secretary in the International Organization Affairs Bureau at the U.S. Department of State. Before joining the State Department in 2010, Katz had several leadership roles at the U.S. Congress.