Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Reflections on the Dayton Peace Accords: The 25th Anniversary

Please join us for a panel discussion with speakers Reuf Bajrovic, Co-Chairman of the US-EU Alliance; Kurt Bassuener, co-founder of the Democratization Policy Council; Ambassador (ret.) Robert S. Gelbard; and Vildana Selimbegovic, Editor in chief of Oslobodjenje. Moderated by Tanya Domi (Harriman Institute).

The Bosnian War began in March 1992, ending three years later after the Bosnian Serb Army committed genocide in the calculated murder of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys that took place on July 11, 1995 leading to airstrikes coordinated by the U.S. military and NATO. A ceasefire was initiated and peace accord negotiations beginning November 1, 1995 successfully concluded on November 21st at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Dayton Peace Accords were signed in Paris on December 14, 1995 witnessed by US President William Clinton, Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, French President Jacques Chirac, UK Prime Minister John Major, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

While Dayton stopped a bloody war that left more than 110,000 dead and more than 2.5 million refugees, it was an imperfect instrument. Even the late Richard Holbrooke, the US diplomat who led the peace effort, admitted the Accords were never meant to be a static document. What is its legacy, and how should it be reformed? Our panelists will discuss.



Reuf Bajrovic served as president of the Emerging Democracies Institute in Washington, DC, and president of the Civic Alliance in Sarajevo. 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 also 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). Mr. Bajrovic’s articles have appeared in Die Zeit, El Pais, Yemen Times, Transitions Online, Tampa Bay Times, Het goede leven, Today’s Zaman and numerous print media in the Western Balkans. He has been quoted in major print media, such as The New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Newsweek and others, and makes frequent television appearances. He has written academic and policy research which was published by United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Open Society Institute, Center for Policy and Governance (CPU) and Heinrich Boll Stiftung.

Kurt Bassuener is co-founder of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin-based think tank. He recently defended his doctoral dissertation, “Peace Cartels: Internationally Brokered Power-Sharing and Perpetual Oligarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia” at the School of International Relations, University of St  Andrews. He lived in Sarajevo 2005-2016.



Amb. (ret.) Robert S. Gelbard is an international business consultant. His 35-year Foreign Service career included numerous senior policy positions, including Ambassador to Indonesia and East Timor, Ambassador to Bolivia, President Clinton’s Special Representative to the Balkans, Assistant Secretary of State for Counter Terrorism, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Gelbard was also President George H. W. Bush’s Special Representative for the 1992 San Antonio Summit and the US Representative to the Paris Club. He has received numerous decorations and awards from the US and foreign governments, including the Presidential Meritorious Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia. Gelbard serves on various corporate boards in the US, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council and Foreign Policy for America. Gelbard is also a member of the Ohrid Group.


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