Chris Deliso- Public Speaking, Conferences and Analytical Forums

In addition to writing analytical pieces (see the Analysis page for more on that), I am a frequent speaker and participant in a variety of events such as academic conferences, special education forums and closed high-level governmental briefings. Here is a sampling of such events.

Public Speaking, Conferences and other Events

 

 Bulgarian Ministry of Defence: I have participated in several NATO and PfP civilian-military conferences on a variety of topics held over the past decade at the G.S. Rakovsky Defence Academy in Sofia, from 2009 through 2018.

I have delivered a number of lectures before a high-profile audience of military officials from Bulgaria, regional countries and officials from Western Europe and the US.

Among other topics, I have spoken before the large audiences at these events on hybrid threats, regional security challenges and complex issues such as a migration policy in the decurity sphere. Read an example of one lecture I gave, entitled “Interagency and International Cooperation in Countering Hybrid Threats” here.

 

 M6 Educational Centre, Skopje: I have delivered several presentations for this innovative center for business and entrepreneurship since 2010.

My presentations have ranged from the lessons that Byzantine history has to offer to the modern business community, to (more recently) the important of cross-cultural communications in a globalizing business place.

The latter event was conducted as part of an EU Erasmus Programme of studies featuring experts from different countries, and was part of a credit-bearing scheme for local students of business.

 

 Aristotle University Thessaloniki: I was invited as a special guest lecturer to teach at a summer school held in Crete for university students from Greece and Cyprus. The two-week event was co-organized by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s Faculty of Journalism and the Crete-base Regional Press Institute.

At the event, I gave lectures on the topic of ‘Travel Journalism and the Environment,’ I conducted interactive lectures on the art of travel writing. I educated the students as to the responsibility that the travel publishing industry had for cultivating sustainable travel, and the role of the travel industry in general for the future of environmental preservation.

 

 

 Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs: In 2016 I was an invited participant at the GĂ«rmia Hill Conferences on religious tolerance, which were part of the Inter-faith Kosovo initiative and received formal backing from the foreign ministry, as well as the British government and other international donors with an interest in inter-religious dialogue.

The event brought together speakers from all over the world representing a wide variety of religions and viewpoints, facilitating a fascinating discourse on what modern religious communities can learn from one another in order to build more tolerant societies.

 

 US Defense Intelligence Agency: I participated as an invited speaker at a closed-door event at the Pentagon on the theme of Balkan security threats.

The event was held in September 2014 and attended by US and British military and civilian intelligence officials, who in turn provided interesting feedback deriving from their own experiences.

While a handful of other speakers covered different topics, I gave a presentation that isolated and specified all regional security threats. Unfortunately, they all materialized within nine months of my speech as the situation in the Balkans worsened.

 

 The Economist Round Table with the Government of Greece: I participated in this high-level event while conducting research for the Economist Intelligence Unit in early 2015, just a couple months after filing an exclusive piece on the then-opposition Syriza party’s goals and personnel moves before the elections.

The event was held at a very volatile time in Greek politics, in which fears were palpable that the new Syriza-ANEL government would be unable to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Attendees included senior diplomats, military officials, politicians and businessmen from Greece and many other countries. It also featured the unforgettable spectacle of then-finance minister Yannis Varoufakis striding into the room surrounded by cameramen.

 

 The Aspen Institute Germany: I have served as a speaker and participant at several closed sessions of the German branch of this American think-tank since 2009, sharing insights in presentations and discussions with other experts on the Southeast European region, with the cooperation of regional foreign ministries such as Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

In addition to the busy panel sessions, these multi-day events also provide abundant time for personal discussions and visits to culturally significant places in the host country.

 

 British Institute at Ankara: At the historic seat of British education and research into Turkey and its Ottoman, Byzantine and ancient past, I attended and spoke at a conference which featured an intriguing mix of old Balkan experts and younger scholars.

With themes stretching from Turkey’s footprint in the Balkans to its attitudes toward the Middle East, it was a very interesting event all in all, at a time when the Erdogan government’s attitude toward the Syria crisis was of particular concern to local and world leaders.

 

 US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR): Starting in 2009, I have spoken at several high-level closed briefings in Washington, D.C. for government analysts and diplomats from the State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research (known as INR).

I have at these events given multi-media presentations on local realities in the political, social and ethnic dimensions of events in the Balkans- a complementary ‘pre-briefing’ for US ambassadors before their deployment to countries like Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

 

 International Centre for Black Sea Studies: At a leading Athens-based foundation devoted to culture and development in the greater Black Sea region, I delivered a 2015 presentation to a mixed audience of practitioners, academics and business people on the subjects of travel writing and its contribution to developing economies and improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation in the region.

 

 US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI): I spoke at a special event as the Arab Spring and NATO bombing of Libya was underway in 2011, on Identity Politics and Violent Extremism in a Balkan context.

This closed event in Madrid was coordinated with the Government of Spain, and featuted numerous speakers from European and other countries, and representatives of the US Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the National Intelligence Council (NIC), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

 

 George Mason University, US: In 2012, I won a full stipend to travel to Fairfax, Virginia, where a special event was being held on the George Mason University campus. Dubbed the DAGGRE Project Analysis Training Workshop, the event was heavy on ‘big data’ with senior officials from Yahoo and other companies giving presentations.

This engaging event, occurring at a particularly volatile time in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, was well-attended and educational for analysts. The organizers described it, in fact, as “an opportunity to learn about the theories of decision and judgment science, and the tools and techniques that are used across government and industry to predict the future.”

 

 Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania: Together with the university’s Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies and Balkanalysis.com, I coordinated and spoke at this fascinating event which brought together researchers and diplomats from all over Europe.

Specializing on two areas of geostrategic prominence that are not often cited in the same sentence – the Baltics and the Balkans – the participants shared new research on the politics, economy and history of the countries concerned in a comparative context. The event was opened by ambassadors of different Baltic states in Romania. The proceedings were later published in Revista Romana de Studii Baltice si Nordic / The Romanian Journal for Baltic and Nordic Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (2011) and Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, issue 16 (2011).

 

 University of Bologna: Together with the TRAME Centro di Studi Interdisciplinare su Memorie e Traumi Culturali, I co-organized a scholarly event with Balkanalysis.com in 2011 on the subject of the state of progress in the Balkans, in the shadow of the wars of the 1990s.

The event, led by Italian scholars, journalists and other experts, provided a thought-provoking platform for different viewpoints on the challenges that remain and improvements reached in the region to that point.

 

 

 Transparency International: I contributed to a region-wide project that provided comprehensive coverage of organized crime in the Balkans, with the cooperation of other experts.

The project, which relied on extensive research, surveys and other data collected over a wide geographic and temporal space, was later published and brought to the attention of decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the fight against corruption and transnational organized crime in Europe.

 

 Unicef: I conducted research and wrote key text for an international campaign that highlighted the challenges facing the ethnic Roma community in the Republic of Macedonia.

The field research for the publications involved several days of travel to communities across the country, accompanied by local Unicef staff who had special programs set up to administer to the needs of this vulnerable community.

 

 USAID: I researched and wrote the content for Exploring Macedonia, the first-ever national tourism portal in Macedonia as part of a USAID project for tourism development in the country.

This was my first contribution on a large scale to building the coutry’s informational infrastructure in the field of tourism development. In later years, I would go on to bring whole regions of Macedonia – and special local villages and worthy attractions – to the attention of foreign visitors for the first time.