North Macedonia: On the Precipice

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for a panel discussion about the Republic of North Macedonia, featuring Reuf Bajrovic (former Minister of Energy in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Dimitar Bechev (nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center), Zhikica Pagovski (partnerships officer at the External Relations Department of the German Marshall Fund, Washington D.C.), Elena Stavrevska (Visiting Research Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Notre Dame University), and moderated by Tanya Domi (SIPA, Harriman Institute).

This panel will discuss what is at stake in the Republic of North Macedonia in this moment following the Greek parliament’s approval of the Prespa agreement to change its name, enabling it to move forward toward NATO enlargement and EU candidacy. Following nearly thirty years of obstruction preventing Macedonia from joining EU institutions, as well as internaitonal ones because of its name dispute with Greece, the new Republic of North Macedonia now has a major opening to seek NATO membership and a future in the European Union. What is possible now and what roadbocks remain for it to overcome?

Reuf Bajrovic is a former Minister of Energy in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina government. Previously, he founded and served as president of the Washington-based civic advocacy group, the Emerging Democracies Institute. He founded the Civic Alliance party in Bosnia Herzegovina. Currently, he s working with an independent team of experts to research and analyze Russia's illiberal authoritarian influence in the Western Balkans. He holds an MA in Democracy and Human Rights and an MA in Governance and Policy of European Integration, both from University of Bologna. He holds a BA in political science from University of Louisville.

Dimitar Bechev is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is also a research fellow at the Center of Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of the European Policy Institute, a think-tank based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Dr. Bechev has published extensively in both academic and policy format on EU foreign relations, the politics of Turkey and the Balkans, Russian foreign policy, and energy security. His book Rival Power (Yale University Press, 2017) explores Russia’s role in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey). He is the author of one book on Macedonia, with another forthcoming in 2019.

Zhikica Pagovski is a partnerships officer at the External Relations Deapartment of the German Marshall Fund, Washington D.C. In this role, he is in charge of fundraising for portfolio of GMF programs and managing the partner/client relations with governments, intergovernmental institutions, corporations, and foundations. Pagovski was a research fellow at Young Professional in Foreign Policy in Washington DC, focusing on issues related with digital technology, big data, and foreign policy. From September 2010 to May 2012, he worked as a consultant for sustainable development at Challenge Future (a start-up think tank based in Slovenia). Pagovski’s former professional experience also includes work at the United Nations and the Government of Macedonia.

Elena Stavrevska is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Her work has explored issues of governance and political economy in post-conflict societies, the European Union’s approach to peace- and state-building in the Western Balkans, and interpretive methodologies in peace and conflict studies. She is currently working on her book manuscript that focuses on the framing of justice in peace settlements in general, and in the cases of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Colombia in particular. Dr. Stavrevska has nearly two decades of experience in the civil society sector in the Balkans and actively contributed to the different protest movements in Macedonia in 2015 and 2016.