Europe's Futures Colloquium

with Valbona Zeneli and Soli Özel
Seminars and Colloquia

Europe’s Futures – Ideas for Action is IWM’s strategic partnership initiative with the ERSTE Foundation aiming to understand and address challenges posed to Europe and the European Union by the eroding of democracy, rule of law deficiencies, migratory pressures or climate change. The fourth cohort of Europe’s Futures Fellows comprises this year eight prominent experts who outline their work in “colloquia” throughout the month of September 2021, this being the series’ fourth and concluding event.

The Transatlantic relationship between Europe and the United States is being challenged in a variety of ways. The situation in Southeastern Europe and Turkey adds to this complexity but also opens alleys for cooperation. Foreign malign influence is growing in the candidate-countries of  the Western Balkans, highlighting the vacuum and the economic, security and environmental risks created after the recent “deepening-before-widening [of the European Union]” policy shift that has put the accession processes on hold. In the immediate vicinity, Turkey has been going through cycles of internal and external conflicts that have further strained relations with the European Union already damaged by the effective removal of Turkey’s accession prospects. This session offered detailed insight and expert views from two of 2021-22 Europe’s Futures Fellows, Valbona Zeneli and Soli Özel. In a conversation facilitated by Ivan Vejvoda, they examined the routes for the Western Balkans’ candidate-countries to be drawn closer – and in - to the European Union, as well as the likely scenarios for future political developments in Turkey.

Valbona Zeneli  joined the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC) in August 2011 as a professor of national security studies. She is also Chair of the Strategic Initiatives Department. Previously, she also served as the Black Sea and Eurasia program director and deputy director for the Central and Southeast Europe program. Before joining the GCMC, Valbona was a professor of international economics at the European University of Tirana and associate professor at the New York University of Tirana. She has served as chief of protocol and later economic adviser to the Albanian prime minister. Prior to that, she worked as adviser to the minister of economy of Albania. Valbona holds a PhD in political economy from the University of Studies “Aldo Moro”, Bari, Italy, as well as a postgraduate studies degree on international marketing from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Soli Ozel  is a professor of international relations and political science at Istanbul Kadir Has University. He taught at U.C. Santa Cruz, SAIS, University of Washington, Hebrew University, and Bogazici University in Istanbul. Soli’s articles and opinion pieces appear in a wide variety of leading newspapers in Turkey and elsewhere around the world. Currently, he is a columnist for Haberturk newspaper, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post’s “Post Global”, and the former editor of the Turkish edition of Foreign Policy. He co-authored the report Rebuilding a Partnership: Turkish American Relations For a New Era? with Dr. Suhnaz Yilmaz and Abdullah Akyuz, and wrote the book The Making of a Protest Movement in Turkey #occupygezi, A Moment of Elation: The Gezi Protests/Resistance and the Fading of the AKP Project ed. U. Ozkirimli, 2014. He received his B.A. at Bennington College, M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ivan Vejvoda, IWM Acting Rector, Permanent Fellow and the head of Europe’s Futures programme, will host and moderate the event.  

The event will be held in the "hybrid" format: 


you can join either via the Zoom link provided after the registration OR by attending the event in person at the IWM library (under “3G” restrictions) – please specify the preference while registering.