It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to this workshop on the foreign policies of small states, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Tirana.
Discussing this topic in Tirana, the capital of a “small state” surrounded by other small states, is especially exciting. As is often underlined, the study of international relations has traditionally prioritized great powers/ hegemons/ dominant states while neglecting the small ones. Although many studies are thriving on the foreign policies of small states, very few bring in case studies from the Western Balkans. This event aims to contribute to the general discussion on the foreign policies of small states with individual case studies from the Western Balkans. Conceptualizing the foreign policies of Western Balkan countries from a small-state perspective can give us insights into understanding the major regional developments, opportunities and challenges the countries face. Systemic constraints, regional ambitions, drivers of conflict and cooperation in the region can be discussed also in comparison to other regions of similar composition – mostly small states with a higher and greater power interest.
I am excited about this Workshop not only because of the interesting topic of discussion but also because of our guests. We will have with us leading names in the field of foreign policies of small states and the Western Balkans.
I hope this endeavor will lead to many more questions in the future and offer much food for thought.