Background Information on Panelists

Background Information on Panelists

 Kurt Bassuener has been the program officer for the Institute's Balkans Initiative since February 2000, focusing on state structures in Bosnia, support for democratic transition in Serbia, and interethnic relations in Macedonia and Kosovo. Prior to joining the Institute, he was associate director of the Balkan Action Council and policy analyst at its predecessor, the Balkan Institute.

A Central and Eastern Europe specialist, he has written extensively to advocate an assertive and proactive American policy toward the crises in the former Yugoslavia, as well as encouraging active American engagement in Europe in general. He previously worked with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on issues relevant to international security and East-Central Europe and interethnic relations in Slovakia. He has also worked on privatization assistance in Ukraine and Belarus with the International Finance Corporation. Bassuener received his M.A. in European Studies from The Central European University in Prague and his B.A. in International Studies from The American University's School of International Service in Washington, D.C.

Janusz Bugajski, director of the East European Studies department at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has extensive experience both in Washington and the Balkan region. He was the 1998 recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award granted jointly by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S.

Information Agency, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

He has published many books on ethnic politics in the post-communist era. He is also a regular contributor to various U.S. newspapers, international journals, and is a columnist for newspapers in Zagreb, Croatia, in Pristina, Kosovo, and in Tirana, Albania.

Bugajski has served as a consultant for the U.S. government, private organizations and foundations. He currently runs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), U.S. Department of State. He has testified before various Congressional committees; helped to establish and lead conflict resolution and community rebuilding seminars organized by CSIS in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. He maintains professional contacts and organizes joint programs with research institutions throughout Eastern Europe, where he is a frequent visitor.

Nenad Čanak is President of the Voivodina Provincial Assembly. Last year he was elected to the 40-member Chamber of Republics of the Federal Parliament. He was born in Pancevo, and earned a Master's degree in Economics at the University of Novi Sad. After studying the flute and piano, he became a professional rock and roll musician for four years.

In 1990 he began his political activities as one of four founders of the opposition League of Social Democrats of Voivodina. From the beginning Mr. Canak called for the removal of Milosevic and for the restoration of autonomy for Voivodina. He was arrested repeatedly for anti-war activities, and in 1991 he was forced to serve in the Serb Army in Slavonia.

The League of Social Democrats in Voivodina, with Mr. Čanak as President, played a key role in the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), the movement which toppled the Milosevic-regime. Mr. Čanak organized anti-Milosevic rallies in Novi Sad, and has remained a staunch supporter of autonomy for Voivodina. He is the author of four books focusing on the dissolution of Yugoslavia: The War Has Just Been Unleashed in 1993, After Five Years in 1995, The Year of Evolution in 1996 and Luna in 1998.

Paul Goble is Director of Communications for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is publisher of RFE/RL Newsline®. Earlier, he served as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, special advisor for Soviet nationality problems and Baltic affairs at the State Department, director of research at Radio Liberty, and special assistant for Soviet nationalities in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Trained at Miami University and the University of Chicago, he is the editor of four volumes on ethnic problems in the former Soviet Union and has published more than 200 articles on ethnic and nationality questions.

Dr. Charles Ingrao is Professor of History at Purdue University in Indiana. As a highly respected expert on the history of Central Europe, a writer and editor of six books on the region, he is a frequent commentator on radio/TV/newspapers in US/Canada and Yugoslavia. He serves as Editor of The Austrian History Yearbook.

Since the Dayton peace process, Dr. Ingrao has made many trips to the former Yugoslavia, including the war zones and to Serbia itself. He is regularly consulted by US, Serbian, and NGO officials. He is a frequent lecturer on contemporary ethnic conflict at universities and research institutes all over North America and Central Europe, as well as at SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium, and the American embassies in Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade.

László Hámos is the founder and President of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation.

Dr. Géza Jeszenszky has served since 1998 as the Ambassador of Hungary to the United States. Born in Budapest, as a young man he participated in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He earned a Master's Degree in history, English and library science at Eötvös University, Budapest, where he also received his Ph.D. in 1970.

Dr. Jeszenszky was a founding member of the Hungarian Democratic Forum in 1988, which won the free elections in April 1990. He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister Antall's government from 1990-94. As Foreign Minister Dr. Jeszenszky made a personal contribution to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and to the reorientation of Hungary's foreign policy. Dedicated to the idea of regional cooperation he helped to create the Visegrád Group and negotiated bilateral treaties with Hungary's three neighbors, Ukraine, Croatia and Slovenia, countries that were ready to provide guarantees for the rights of their sizeable Hungarian population.

Following the elections of 1994 he became a Member of the Opposition in Parliament. After the elections of 1998 he was appointed Ambassador to the United States.

Dr. Jeszenszky's many awards include a C.I.E.S. Fulbright Grant (1984-86), and a Guest Scholar Grant from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1985). In 1996 he was Helen DeRoy Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. László Józsa is an attorney and Hungarian political leader in Subotica (Szabadka), Voivodina. In 1992 Dr. Jozsa was Assistant Minister for Human and Minority Rights in the Yugoslav Federal government. In 1994 he became one of the founders of the Alliance of Hungarians In Voivodina (VMSZ), the largest ethnic Hungarian party, and today he serves as its Vice President.

He has served as a Member of Parliament, where his areas of specialty included foreign relations and justice. In 1998 he was elected President of the Minority Council of Voivodina, and in 1999, Vice President of the Interim National Council of Voivodina Hungarians. Dr. Józsa is a frequent participant and lecturer at international negotiations and conferences.

Frank Koszorus, Jr., practices law in Washington, D.C. He has lectured at various institutions and has testified before several Congressional committees about NATO enlargement and minority rights. In October 1997, he participated in a NATO fact-finding mission that was jointly sponsored by the Department of Defense and Department of State.

His publications have appeared in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs where Koszorus co-authored with Csaba K. Zoltani an article entitled, "Group Rights Defuse Tensions." His participation on an advisory panel for a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace project culminated in the publication, Self-Determination in the New World Order (1992).

His activities include membership in the U.S. delegation to the Paris Helsinki Conference on the Human Dimension, and in the International Human Rights Law Group. Koszorus helped organize the Committee for Danubian Research, and was a founder of the Hungarian American Coalition, on whose board he serves. He also is the president of the American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

Edith Lauer, one of the founders of the Hungarian American Coalition in 1991, first served as President, and presently is Chairman of its Board of Directors. Among many Coalition-related activities, Ms. Lauer was an active participant in promoting the advantages of NATO expansion in Hungary and in the U.S.

In more than thirty years of non-profit activities, she has served on many boards of educational and arts organizations. She often speaks at conferences and workshops in the U.S., Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. A trustee of Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Lauer is also on the Board of the Cleveland Council of World Affairs, the Hungarian Communion of Friends; Madach Posonium in Slovakia, and the Szekely Association in Transylvania, Romania.

Julie Ann Mertus is a senior fellow in the US Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph fellowship program and assistant professor of international peace and conflict resolution at the American University's School of International Service. She is also a legal consultant to the Humanitarianism & War Project at the Watson Institute for International Affairs, Brown University.

Since 1998 she has conducted several field missions to Kosovo and Albania with the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. In 1996 she examined the impact of the Dayton Peace Accords as a visiting fellow with the human rights program at Harvard University. Mertus also taught comparative law and international human rights both at Ohio Northern University and as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the University of Bucharest in Romania. She worked for several years with Human Rights Watch as staff counsel on war crimes issues in the Balkans. Her many articles and books include Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War (1999), The Gender Connection: Humanitarian Law and Policy (1999), and The Suitcase: Refugees' Voices from Bosnia and Croatia (1997). Mertus holds a B.S. from Cornell University's School of Industrial Labor Relations and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review.

Tibor Purger has been Washington Correspondent for Magyar Szo (Hungarian Word) since 1991, the only daily newspaper in Yugoslavia that preserved its independent editorial policy from the beginning to the end of the Milosevic regime. He also writes for the South Slavic Service of Radio Free Europe and for Duna TV, a satellite network based in Budapest. As editor and founder of several publications in Vojvodina, he covered the pre-war constitutional crisis in the Former Yugoslavia. He focused on the systematic destruction by Serbian nationalists of the autonomy of Voivodina, and the militant use of state-run media for instigating ethnic hatred and violence.

Mr. Purger is currently employed by The Brookings Institution where he works in technology research. He holds a graduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University and had studied political science at the University of Belgrade.


The background information is incomplete.

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