A moderated discussion with Wolfgang Ischinger (Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice, Hertie School), Juan Diaz (Berlin Representative for the European Forum for International Mediation and Dialogue (mediatEUr)), Visar Ymeri and Albin Kurti (representatives of the Movement for Self-determination, the largest opposition group in Kosova’s parliament).
The event is organised by the International Relations Club at the Hertie School.
Registration is required. Please register here.
The collapse of Yugoslavia during the 1990's led to a military intervention by the NATO, followed by missions of the UN and the EU. While the main international efforts in the region have centered on stability, there has been a rise of authoritarian regimes in the Balkans, at the expense of democracy and justice. New anxiety has been caused in the region by Brexit, the strengthening of far right wing parties in the EU, the new US Administration, and Russia's growing influence.
Since the 1999 war and the 2008 declaration of independence of Kosova, different factors continue to pose a challenge to Kosova’s sovereignty and hinder its development. Considering Kosova an integral part of its territory, Serbia continues to undermine the new state through the support of parallel structures, the de facto control of approximately a quarter of Kosova’s territory. The latest incidents involving a wall on the bridge of the divided city of Mitrovica, and the dispatching of a Russian-made train with the slogan “Kosovo is Serbia” toward Mitrovica sparked controversy. Serbia’s President made an open threat for war, which was met by official declarations from the Albanian government that in such an instance Kosova and Albania would react in a joint effort to provide security.
Visar Ymeri and Albin Kurti are representatives of the Movement for Self-determination, the largest opposition group in Kosova’s parliament and the only left oriented political group in the country. They will share their views on recent political events in the Western Balkans and explain how Kosova, while being the youngest yet most isolated European country, has become a crucial factor for the development of the whole region.
Following short speeches by Mr. Ymeri and Mr. Kurti, Hertie School Professor Wolfgang Ischinger will give remarks about his experiences in international diplomacy. Juan Diaz will moderate a discussion with students and guests.
Registration is required. Please register here.
Visar Ymeri was elected President of “Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE!” in March 2015 and is currently serving his second term as a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Kosova, where he is a member of the joint Parliamentary Committee with the European Parliament on the implementation of SAA Agreement. He has joined the Movement since the early stages of its founding and has been active in general elections in Kosova since 2010, when he was first elected an MP.
Albin Kurti joined the presidency of the Students Independent Union of the University of Prishtina in August 1997, which organized peaceful protests for the release of the university facilities which were occupied by the authorities of the Serbian regime. When war began in Kosova, Kurti began working as the Secretary of the Office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army, Adem Demaçi. Kurti remained in Prishtina during the NATO bombing of Serbia and Kosova, where he was arrested by Serbian forces. With the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosova, he was transferred to prisons in Serbia. Due to international pressure, Kurti was released on December 7, 2001. In June 2005, Albin Kurti with other political activists co-founded “Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE” (Movement for Self-determination). He was the President of “Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE!” until March 2015.
Wolfgang Ischinger is Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School of Governance. He has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference since 2008, before which he was Germany’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and from 2001 to 2006, Ambassador to the United States. In 2007, he served as the EU representative in the Troika negotiations on Kosovo. In 2014, he was the representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the National Dialogue Roundtables in Ukraine before serving as Chairman of the OSCE-mandated Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project in 2015.
Juan Diaz is the Berlin Representative for the European Forum for International Mediation and Dialogue (mediatEUr) and a conflict resolution specialist with over 14 years of experience managing mediation and negotiations in conflicted regions, including Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. His key accomplishments include accompanying the establishment of the European Institute of Peace (2013-2014); being the Senior Mediator in over 30 integrative mediation (2005-2012); training political and civil society leaders in integrative mediation (2002-Present); advising government ministries and institutions on developing mediation and training representatives of the EU and international institutions (UN, UNDP, ICO, and OSCE) on mediation.