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Book Launch: "Unfinished Business", CTR – SAIS, Washington D.C.

At the Center for Transatlantic Relations – SAIS at Johns Hopkins University in Washington in concurrence with the Southeast European Economic Forum, the release and promotion of the book “Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and the International Community” was held.

The editors of the book, published by the Brookings Institution and the Center for Transatlantic Relations – SAIS at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, unveiled the publication, which presents a compilation of articles arising from the conference on the Western Balkans held last year in Sarajevo.

Vedran Dzihic, one of the editors of the book, greeted the assembled guests. The moderator of the session was SAIS Senior Fellow Michael Haltzel. Some of the authors of the book spoke during the launch: Goran Nedic of the America-Bosnia Foundation, Austrian Ambassador to the OECD and former High Representative in BiH Wolfgang Petritsch, Ivana Howard of the National Endowment for Democracy, Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and SAIS Senior Fellow Daniel Serwer.

Petritsch, Gelazis, Serwer, and Howard agreed that the progress in the region is evident, but that it will take another ten years of intensive work to classify the region as a success story.

Ivana Howard added that more work is needed in strengthening membership of youth and non-governmental organizations in the region and urged the international community and donors not to give up their activites in the Western Balkans now when it is possible to measure the progress made and now that there is a much clearer vision of how to successfully finance “unfinished stories in the Balkans,” as the title of the SAIS publication suggests.

Goran Nedic, member of the Executive Board of the America-Bosnia Foundation, stressed the importance of the implementation of the Basel Committee recommendations connected with changing the laws on banking agencies in BiH, which would enable needed injections of capital in the development of the economy.

The book received grateful support from the Carnegie Cooperation of New York, the Austrian Marshall Fund Foundation, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the MIMS Group, BH Telekom, ERSTE Stiftung, and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington.

Articles were authored by Kurt Bassuener, Florian Bieber, Srdjan Blagovcanin, Nerzuk Curak, Vjekoslav Domljan, Vedran Dzihic, Nida Gelazis, Zlatko Hadzidedic, Mirza Hajric, Vedran Horvat, Ivana Howard, Dejan Jovic, Gerald Knaus, Kemal Kurspahic, Ulrike Lunacek, Jelena Milic, Andy Mullins, Goran Nedic, Wolfgang Petritsch, Daniel Serwer, Ahmet Shala, Igor Stiks, Sasha Toperich, and Sead Turcalo.

The book closes with an article titled “A New Paradigm for the Mediterranean,” which opens a new initiative of support for cooperation and exchanges of experiences between countries in the Western Balkans and North Africa, and was authored by Andy Mullins and Sasha Toperich.

“We thought it was important to include an article opening a new avenue for cooperation between the Western Balkans, and South East Europe in general, and North African partners in democracies emerging from the Arab Spring. In that way, this book draws a line of continuity from Sarajevo through Washington toward future projects,” Mullins, a member of the ABF Executive Board, said.

After Washington, the publication will be launched in Brussels, Vienna, and the capital cities of countries in the Western Balkans. The promotion of the book in Sarajevo will be held during the regional Civil Society Initiatives workshops and conference from April 15 to 17 this year, organized by the America-Bosnia Foundation and the Center for Transatlantic Relations in Washington.

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