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Panel Discussion: My Kind of NATO: Perceptions from Albania

 23 October 2012 – European University of Tirana

Centre for European and Security Affairs (Institute for Democracy and Mediation) and Institute for Strategic and Security Studies (European University of Tirana) organized in the premises of EUT the panel discussion “My kind of NATO: Perceptions from Albania”. The event gathered around 70 participants from public institutions, civil societies, private and public groups of interest, independent experts and professors and students in the field of security.

An interactive debate on NATO agenda and some of the main highlights and directions of the Alliance took place among a carefully selected audience to reflect their opinion on how they perceive NATO in general or how they would like it to be.

The panel discussion was opened by Col (r) Foto Duro who provided a brief presentation of this project conducted by IDM and supported by NATO Public Diplomacy Division. President of the European University of Tirana Mr. Adrian Civici stressed the importance of the studies in the field and the need to review and frame NATO agenda based on our national interests. The discussion was followed by the Deputy Minister of Defense, Mr. Arjan Starova who briefly reviewed NATO integration process stressing the need and the importance to be part of this organization for the economic, political and security stability.

Mr. Agim Fagu, Head of NATO Directorate – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided a short history on NATO from its creation in 1949 till nowadays and its strategic goals under transformation. Mr. Ilir Kalemaj, coauthor of the publication “My Kind of NATO: Perceptions from Albania” presented the main findings of the report study and the survey conducted in the framework of this project. The last part of the panel discussion was dedicated to free questions and answers concerning different perspective on NATO engagement and strategic concept.

The project “My Kind of NATO: Perceptions from Albania” intended to share important issues of global concern with a specific targeted audience composed of representatives from academic community, media and civil society through a series of workshop activities in Albania’s most important cities such as Shkodër, Durrës, Vlorë, Elbasan, Berat and Tirana. The aim of this initiative was to raise awareness among this specific audience, enhance public debate and develop discussion.

In the framework of this project IDM prepared a report which includes findings identified from a 9 month project that involved presentation workshops organized in six different universities in Albania’s largest cities, combined with surveys carried out to collect the perceptions regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Accordingly, this study report highlights some of the most prominent reflections on NATO’s current agenda and operations, how participants perceive the roles and functions of NATO and its continuous transformation, the relationship between Albania and NATO in general, as well as reciprocal benefits and costs of the Albania membership to NATO.