Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and Opportunities for Transatlantic Cooperation
- H.E. Ditmir Bushati, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
- Dr. Karen Donfried, President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
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As the European security order is facing rising instability in the face of Russian aggressions, violent extremism, and other factors eroding the European integration process, transatlantic security cooperation has gained new urgency for the United States and its European partners. Not least due to its geostrategic position between Europe and Russia, the Republic of Albania is central to security deliberations in the region. As a member of NATO, Albania has offered the alliance vital insight into the security of the Westerns Balkans. Through its staunch support for NATO and U.S. foreign policy decisions in the Middle East, it has proven a vital ally in the fight against violent extremism. However, the continued presence of Russian influence in the region poses a threat to European security and autonomy for Western Balkan countries. To foster the dialogue between the United States and the Republic of Albania and to discuss U.S. policy in the region, The German Marshall Fund of the United States invites you to a conversation with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati that will assess regional security challenges and identify opportunities and obstacles for cooperation in countering transnational threats.
H.E. Ditmir Bushati is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania. Prior to assuming office in 2013, he was a member of the Parliament of Albania representing the Tirana district. As a member of Parliament, Bushati served as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for European Integration (2011-2013) and was a member of the Joint EU-Albania Parliamentary Committee (2009-2013). He has been an elected member of the Socialist Party Chairmanship since 2011. Before his career in government, Bushati was a leader in civil society and is a founding director of the European Movement Albania (EMA). He served as the director for Legal Approximation at the Albanian Ministry of European Integration, negotiating the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union. He is a member of the European Council on Foreign Affairs, and has also served as an analyst for Freedom House, Open Society Foundation, and the European Society of International Law. Bushati holds a Bachelor’s degree in law with the highest honors from the University of Tirana and a master’s of law (LLM) in public international law from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Dr. Karen Donfried is president of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Before assuming this role in April 2014, Donfried was the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House. In that capacity, she was the president’s principal advisor on Europe and led the interagency process on the development and implementation of the president’s European policies. Prior to the White House, Donfried served as the national intelligence officer (NIO) for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s center for strategic thinking. As NIO, she directed and drafted strategic analysis to advance senior policymakers’ understanding of Europe. Donfried first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. From 2003-05, she was responsible for the Europe portfolio on the U.S. Department of State's Policy Planning Staff. Her second term of service at GMF was 2005-10, first as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president. Donfried serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. She is a member of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Advisory Board, as well as of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2014-16, Donfried served as vice chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States; in 2016, she became a member of WEF’s Global Future Council on Regional Governance.