Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

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From a Hot Peace to a Hot War? Serbia’s Escalation in Violence Broadsides US/EU Diplomats
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Please join the Harriman Institute for the annual Balkan Roundtable. Moderated by Tanya Domi.

No one has been surprised by the recent escalation of tensions between Serbia and Kosovo that nearly erupted into war late last weekend when about 7,000 Serbian soldiers were deployed to the Kosovo Border, following two weekends of violence, including the killing of Kosovar police and three other people that occurred when Serbian gunmen battled police during a monastery siege on Sept. 24th. Last week, the United States issued a stern warning to Serbia to pull back their forces deployed at the border. These tensions spiked after the April election of Albanian ethnic mayors in Mitrovica when Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti ordered Kosovo police escorts to their offices. Serbian residents had boycotted the elections. Clashes in May injured dozens of protesters and NATO alliance peacekeepers. The EU dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo has has sputtered to a standoff, yielding no agreement – both EU and US diplomats are scrambling to move the tense situation to calmer waters. The genesis of this situation actually began in 2022 during a border crossing license plate dispute between the two countries that eventually led to President Vucic scrambling MIG fight jets over the border with Kosovo igniting tensions that have remained high since. Evidence has emerged revealing Serbian planning had been underway to mount this attack on Kosovo. The EU has issued demands that Serbia and Kosovo to reengage in the dialogue. But Alexander Vucic has made clear when he said that Serbia would never recognize Kosovo, which is a key element and stated clear goal of the European Union dialogue process. This Balkan Roundtable will focus on this ongoing crisis in the Western Balkans.



Milka Tadić Mijović, Montenegrin journalist, media executive and international human rights activist

Ivana Stradner, Advisor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Barish Center for Media Integrity

Bodo Weber, Senior Associate of the Democratization Policy Council (DPC)

Reuf Bajrović, Vice President at the US-Europe Alliance in Washington, DC; Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Daniel Serwer, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Agon Maliqi, political analyst and activist from Kosovo; creator and co-founder of Sbunker

Una Hajdari, independent reporter based in Rome and focused on Central, Eastern Europe and the Balkans

Alice Taylor, editor and journalist

Marija Šajkaš, media and communication specialist


Milka Tadić Mijović is a Montenegrin journalist, media executive and international human rights activist. She is one of the co-founders of the weekly Monitor, the first Montenegrin private and independent weekly magazine (September 1990). During the ‘90s, she was actively engaged in the anti-war movement. She was the first journalist dismissed from job in Montenegro for articles critical of President Slobodan Milosevic’s nationalistic policies. Her wartime reports, analytical columns and radio and TV interviews, as well as investigative articles on organised crime and corruption in Montenegro and the region have been translated and published or quoted by leading international media. She has received both numerous threats and journalistic excellence awards for articles exposing corruption and other government wrongdoings.


Ivana Stradner serves as an advisor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Barish Center for Media Integrity, where her research focuses on Russia’s information operations and cybersecurity, particularly Russia’s use of advanced forms of hybrid warfare and the threat they pose to the West. Ivana studies Russia’s security strategies and military doctrines to understand how Russia uses information operations for strategic communication. Given the divergence between the American and Russian militaries’ understandings of cybersecurity, her work examines both the psychological and technical aspects of Russian information security. Ivana also analyzes Russian influence in international organizations; she is currently focusing on UN efforts to regulate information security and the UN Cybercrime Treaty. In her writings, videos, and interviews, Ivana consistently champions a robust use of the international rule of law against revisionist powers (such as China and Russia). Because of her work to better understand Russian hybrid warfare in Eastern Europe, Ivana was asked to testify before the EU Parliament and brief various government officials. Before joining FDD, Ivana worked as a visiting scholar at Harvard University and a lecturer for a variety of universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.


Bodo Weber is a Senior Associate of the Democratization Policy Council (DPC), a transatlantic policy analysis and advocacy group promoting accountability in Western democracy promotion. Mr. Weber is one of the leading Western experts on the Western Balkans. He is a longtime analyst of international policy, Western Balkans policy and society and German foreign policy. He also works as a political consultant for political foundations and international organizations in Germany and the Balkans. In the 1990s, he worked as an editor with Perspektiven (Frankfurt/Main), a journal, and served as a board member of the Bosnien-Büro Frankfurt. He has published numerous articles and analytical papers on politics and societies in the Balkans, on post-conflict peacebuilding, democratization and German foreign policy. He has published articles and OpEds in various journals and papers such as Die Zeit,Internationale Politik, EUObserver et. al. and regularly appears as a commentator in Southeast European media. Weber has an MA in political science and Eastern European history from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University in Frankfurt/Main. He lives in Berlin.


Reuf Bajrović (@ReufBajrovic) is the Vice President at the US-Europe Alliance in Washington, DC and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Previously, he served as president of the Emerging Democracies Institute in Washington, DC, and president of the Civic Alliance political party in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr. Bajrovic served as the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mining of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he oversaw a portfolio of $2 billion. He has served as consultant and advisor in over a dozen countries to political parties, private foundations and development agencies such as USAID, European Commission, EU Police Mission, UNDP, UK Department for International Development (DFID), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI), Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Daniel Serwer is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His From War to Peace: the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine was by Palgrave MacMillan. Formerly director of Conflict Management and American Foreign Policy at SAIS, he was previously vice president for centers of peacebuilding innovation at the US Institute of Peace, leading teams on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance, and gender. He was also USIP vice president for peace and stability operations and directed its peacebuilding work in the Balkans, facilitating dialogue between Serbs and Albanians. As a minister-counselor at the State Department, Serwer directed the European office of intelligence and research and served as special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Muslims and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. Serwer holds a Princeton Ph.D. and M.A., a University of Chicago M.S., and a Haverford College B.A. He blogs at and tweets @DanielSerwer
Agon Maliqi is a political analyst and activist from Kosovo. He was the creator and co-founder of Sbunker, a think tank and Albanian-language blog focused on countering authoritarian threats to security and democracy in the Western Balkans. Currently engaged as an independent consultant and researcher, Mr. Maliqi has for many years worked on regional peace and reconciliation efforts, most recently in 2022 as a co-founder of the Kosovo Peace and Democracy Summit. Mr. Maliqi is a member of the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Western Balkans Task Force and, as of recently, a member of Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s Western Balkans Strategy Group. Previously, in 2019 he was a resident Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington D.C.
Una Hajdari is an independent reporter based in Rome and focused on Central, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Her reporting is mainly published in Politico Europe, as well as a variety of US outlets. Over the years, her particular beats have been identity issues, post-communist transition in Europe and far-right groups. She has held several prestigious fellowships over the years, including at the IWM in Vienna, at MIT, the International Women’s Media Foundation and was a correspondent for Reporters Without Borders.
Alice Taylor is a British-born editor and journalist who has been living and working in Albania since 2017. Reporting in Albanian and English, she covers both Albania and Kosovo for pan-European politics and policy media Euractiv and hosts a weekly news show on Euronews Albania. She also corresponds for BBC and DW, as well as various other British media, on developments in the region. In addition to her journalistic work, she trains journalists and gives talks on journalism and media ethics both locally and abroad. Alice is also a co-founder and board member of Albania’s Ethical Media Alliance, the country’s first self-regulatory mechanism.
Marija Šajkaš is a media and communication specialist, and human rights advocate focused on freedom of expression, the work and safety of female journalists and minority groups, and the state of media in the U.S. and the Balkans. She is the founder of 4 Better Media and, since 2018, a curator of the Freedom of Speech series at the Queens World Film Festival. In addition, she is a staff writer for Cenzolovka, a Serbian media watchdog website, a media consultant for Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University, and a regular contributor to Reporters Without Borders. Before that, Sajkas was the Head of Development and Operations for Media Diversity Institute –USA, the Advocacy Manager for New York Immigration Coalition, a Press Officer for The International Committee of the Red Cross, and a Deputy-Editor-in-Chief of The Bridges Magazine, the first media outlet distributed in post-war Bosnia, produced by the United Nations, SFOR Forces. Marija Sajkas holds M.S. in International Affairs, with a concentration in Culture and Media Studies, from The New School University in New York, and a B.S. in Serbian Language and Literature from the University of Belgrade.

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