AIIS joins European Security and Defense College as an associate member

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 31, 2023 16:13

AIIS joins European Security and Defense College as an associate member

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  • Given the significance of foreign affairs and security in Albania's and the region's EU integration process, AIIS joining the ESDC is a significant step forward, according to AIIS Chairman Albert Rakipi. 

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TIRANA, June 1, 2023 - The Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) has announced its new status as an associate member of the European Security and Defense College (ESDC), reaffirming its position as a vanguard force in Albania's EU integration process and maintaining its reputation as the country's top-rated think tank.

The European Union established ESDC to offer education, training and research on matters related to European security and defense, creating a network of predominantly EU state-affiliated and independent research organizations. The ESDC has now welcomed AIIS as the sole associate member from Albania and the only think tank of its kind in the Western Balkan region.

Given the significance of foreign affairs and security in Albania's and the region's EU integration process, AIIS joining the ESDC is a significant step forward, according to AIIS Chairman Albert Rakipi. 

"This represents yet another step forward toward Albania's EU integration and a significant contribution that AIIS, through its vanguard role, makes to this ongoing process — a collective effort that extends beyond the government and involves various stakeholders in society, including academia and think tanks," Dr. Rakipi said. "By taking this step, AIIS becomes part of a crucial network encompassing notable EU-based think tanks, as well as ministries of defense and defense academies of EU member states."

Dr. Rakipi reiterated that AIIS has consistently played a pioneering role in advancing Albania's engagement with NATO, the EU and other international partners. With its proactive approach and commitment to collaboration, the institute has a longstanding history of spearheading various initiatives to enhance Albania's integration efforts.

Spanish Ambassador to Albania Álvaro Renedo Zalba, who has had direct cooperation with both AIIS and ESDC in the past, said AIIS’ participation as an associated member in the ESDC is “excellent news.” 

“I have no doubt that AIIS will benefit greatly from the important work undertaken by the ESDC in fostering a European security and defense culture. Moreover, AIIS’ commitment with cutting-edge research in international affairs, along with Albania’s deep-rooted Euro-Atlantic commitment, will surely afford strategic added value to the ESDC in a crucial moment for Europe as a whole,” the ambassador said.

AIIS is a non-governmental, non-profit research and policy institute established 25 years ago in recognition of the need for independent, in-depth analysis of the complex issues surrounding Albania's security. AIIS was founded by a group of academics and analysts with extensive experience on foreign policy and policy-making issues. Since then, AIIS has established itself as the key reference point about security, international relations, EU integration, NATO and democracy -- in Albania and the region.

In recognition of its expertise, AIIS has consistently ranked among the top 100 Think Tanks in the world for the past decade, as listed in the Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. It is the sole Albanian think tank featured in this prestigious index. In the 2021 edition, AIIS secured the 78th position globally and the 22nd position in the Eastern-Southeastern Europe category.

AIIS has actively contributed to Albania's Euro-Atlantic integration, including its NATO membership, by collaborating with NATO-affiliated organizations in conducting studies and organizing events. Such involvement has played a crucial role in promoting Albania's active participation within the alliance.

Additionally, AIIS has been at the forefront of bridging the gap between Albanian academia and its EU counterparts. Through its activities, AIIS works to facilitate the integration of Albanian academia into the broader European academic community, enabling the exchange of knowledge, expertise and best practices. This endeavor aims to help enhance Albania's academic standing within the EU context.

Ledion Krisafi, AIIS senior research fellow, emphasized the importance of AIIS becoming an associate member of the ESDC. 

"In the academic and research world in general, Albania needs a good shake up. The country’s institutions still don’t see themselves as part of a wider European space and they find difficulty entering this space. In this view, AIIS becoming an associate member of the European Security and Defence College is a step forward in this direction and could serve as a push and inspiration for other private or public institutions," Dr. Kristafi said.

Established in 2005 and headquartered in Brussels, the primary aim of the ESDC is to enhance the EU's capacity to respond effectively to security and defense challenges by providing a platform for cooperation, dialogue, and education among EU member states, EU institutions and international partners. It serves as a focal point for training, education, and knowledge-sharing in the field of security and defense policy.

The ESDC offers a variety of training courses, workshops, seminars, and other educational activities to officials and personnel from EU member states, EU institutions, and partner countries. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including crisis management, conflict prevention, military operations, civilian-military cooperation and strategic communication. The college also conducts research and analysis on security and defense issues, publishes reports, and organizes conferences and events to facilitate exchange of expertise and best practices.

By fostering cooperation and promoting a common understanding of security and defense challenges, the ESDC plays a significant role in strengthening the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and promoting a more coordinated and effective approach to security within Europe and beyond.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 31, 2023 16:13