My colleague and former student Dr. Valbona Zeneli, recently, published her book IN MY OPINION. The book presents 39 short articles about the core issues of European security, international trade, and the Western Balkans. She also uses cartoons with each topic. All of which have been drawn by her 12 year old son.
I had the pleasure to write the Foreword of the book as follows:
I like this book. The many articles of Dr. Zeneli provide a 360 degree view of the world. This collection of articles offers new decisions and policies that impact current events in our turbulent times. Equally important, Dr. Zeneli recognizes the fact that even those interested in a topic may not have the time to read and reflect on many lengthy academic treatises. The subsequent risk for the world are decisions made by policy makers, business executives, and researchers themselves, which are based on very limited information, fragmented insights, and very limited overall comprehension.
With the work presented here, Dr. Zeneli provides an answer to this problematic. She identifies core international policy and trade issues and addresses them with depth and parsimony, thus helping to create a new bedrock of understanding. Her answer is the new use of short and pertinent commentary.
Her background provides unique strength and capabilities to Dr. Zeneli. She was born and raised in Albania, and educated at leading global institutions. Combined with her exposure to practice, she is able to bring to her analysis and writing a rare combination of academic expertise and “real world experience”. Her training in economics and security studies took her from Italy, to the United States, and to Germany at the famous George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studie.
I have known Valbona for 15 years, since she was my students. in International Marketing class at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. she excelled then and ever since I have enjoyed working with her in researching and writing on current important in the fields of global trade, international marketing, trade agreements, corruption, and international terrorism. Her extensive exposure to and participation in policy, business, and academic research allows her to glide easily between the three worlds, and to understand different perspectives. Her international experience at the Marshall Center, where she works with leaders from all continents to discuss current security issues and future trends, is clearly demonstrated in her comparative comments, which allows readers to look at different perspectives.
Valbona Zeneli has written numerous research papers in her academic life, and has been a contributor of editorial commentary in the international business and security field. Her work has been published in well-known outlets such as The Diplomat, The Globalist, The National Interest, Atlantic Community, The Japan Times, SriLanka Guardian, Affari Internazionali among others.
Dr. Zeneli’s focus on economics, governance, and the interlocking aspects of world trade matter in these turbulent times. Her ability to capture current events and connect them to the foundation and requirements of governing and responsible decision making is truly special. This is where her skill shine best. Her ability to make sense of what makes societies successful, or causes them to fail, is both subtle and effective. By examining her thinking and it’s development over time, we are treated to key insights into the ongoing rapidity of change and the consequences of bad decision making. There articles provide us with key lessons.
She is a strong supporter of European integration of the Western Balkans, and a believer oin open trade and strong transatlantic bonds. A Europeanist and internationalist at heart, these feeling are evident throughout her writings.
Of equal importance is the fact that the articles presented here illuminate the mistakes to be avoided in a period of our history where decisions made with rapid reaction but often based on poor and even deceptive information are becoming the norm. Zeneli argues with a constant key take-away in mind. We live in a globalized world and we are highlyinterconnected.. Policy decisions are seldom exclusively national but have regional and global repercussions. Zeneli’s collection is a reminder of the butterfly effect where seemingly local actions can lead to major shifts even far away. Events such as poor governance, corruption,
migration, and the like in the Balkans can have a far reaching impact in Europe and beyond. Trade policies need to be separated from emotions with a heightened sense of clinical rigor and honesty and honor. Already today, but even more in the future, will these concerns be the bane of society. They therefore require our concentrated attention.
Dr. Zeneli’s articles are accompanied by a cartoon. With the artistic support of her eleven-year old son this book offers drawings reflecting both simplicity and understanding of her commentaries, appealing to the reader with words and sights, and and adding the dimension of humor to complicated security issues.
Valbona Zeneli’s articles capture what are still current events but she tells a story that will endure. I therefore encourage you to go to your nearest book store and buy this book. It is worth your effort to do so, since a systematic reading of the material presented, your reflection of the ongoing implications and your review of the cartoons, will likely make you the smartest person in the room when it comes to discussions of security, regionalism and trade. My congratulations go to Dr, Valbona Zeneli for the fine work she has conducted.
Michael R. Czinkota
Washington D.C., January 2018