Deterrence Diplomacy: Preventing Conflict In Our Own Backyard

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Deterrence Diplomacy: Preventing Conflict In Our Own Backyard

15th March 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Turmoil has recently engulfed Bosnia and Herzegovina once again. Fuelled by Serbian nationalist intentions, and supported by the Kremlin, concerns are growing over the future of the Balkans region and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty. We saw violence prevail in the region in the 1990s, and we cannot allow this to happen again. Whilst Europe and the rest of the world looks on, we ask the pertinent question: how can the horrors of the 1990s be avoided, and do we have the capacity to stop the slide into conflict? The UK must lead the way in responding firmly to this deteriorating situation.

The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to this timely discussion where we shall look at the current situation in Bosnia, and how the UK and other allies can work with Bosnians to prevent the situation from worsening.



H.E. Vanja Filipović holds a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College (1999), M.A. in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University (2001) and M.Sc. in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS-University of London (2017). Between 2002 and 2012, he has worked as a civilian consultant at NATO HQ Sarajevo. In 2013, as foreign policy advisor, he joined the cabinet of Mr. Željko Komšić, Member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency, and in 2016, he was appointed a Chief of Cabinet to  Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Communications and Transportation. In 2019, he re-joined the cabinet of Mr. Željko Komšić, and was subsequently appointed as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.



James Gow is Professor of International Peace and Security in the Department of War Studies. Between 1994 and 1998, he served as an expert advisor and expert witness for the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he was involved in establishing subject matter jurisdiction, was the first witness to give evidence in the Trial Chamber and the first person ever to give evidence at an international criminal tribunal. In 1997-1998, he was an Expert Advisor to the UK Secretary of State for Defence during the Ministry of Defence’s Strategic Defence Review, and contributed to work on the 1999-2000 Strategic Context Paper. He was involved in background preparations for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

He is a permanent non-resident scholar with the Liechtenstein Institute, Princeton University. He has held visiting positions at the University of Sheffield, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, the Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University, and the Centre of International Studies, Princeton University.  Among other activities, he was a member of the British Film Institute In-View Advisory Board (2007-9) and a member of the ESRC/AHRC ‘Global Uncertainties’ Development Panel and the ESRC/AHRC ‘Global Uncertainties Fellowship’ Commissioning Panel (2008-9).

He was Reviews Editor for International Peacekeeping between 1994 and 1997 and is currently Chair of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism Advisory Council, editor of the Routledge Contemporary Security Issues series with Professor Rachel Kerr, and a member of the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Genocide Research, Media, War and Conflict, Slovene Studies and the Encyclopedia Princetoniensis.



Professor Kenneth Morrison specialises in modern Southeast European politics and history, with an emphasis on Serbia, (including the Sandžak), Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. He has published widely in his field and is the author of Montenegro: A Modern History (IB Tauris, 2009), Sarajevo’s Holiday Inn: On the Frontline of Politics and War (Palgrave, 2016), Nationalism, Statehood and Identity in Post-Yugoslav Montenegro (Bloomsbury, 2018), and the co-author of The Sandžak: A History (Hurst & Co./Oxford University Press), Reporting the Siege of Sarajevo (Bloomsbury, 2021) and War Hotels (Merrion, 2022). He is currently writing a book with Vesko Garčević focusing on relations between Serbia and Montenegro since 2006.

Kenneth served as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords International Relations Select Committee for their ‘UK and the Western Balkans’ inquiry which culminated in the detailed report entitled ‘The UK and the Future of the Western Balkans’. In 2018/19, he was a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).



Helena Ivanov is a PhD Candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.

Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.



Alicia Kearns was elected in December 2019 as the Member of Parliament for Rutland and Melton. Prior to being elected, she worked in counter-terrorism and counter-hostile state activity at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and for allied Governments and alliances as an independent consultant across the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.

Since joining Parliament she’s been elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. She also launched the All Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Foods, for Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the UK overseas territory the Turks and Caicos Islands.




On the 15th March, Alicia Kerns, MP for Rutland and Melton, James Gow, Professor of International Peace and Security at Kings College London, H.E. Vanja Filipović, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Helena Ivanov, Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, and Kenneth Morrison, Professor of Modern Southeast European History at De Montfort University, discussed how the UK can work with Bosnians to prevent the country sliding back into war.

Alicia Kerns MP began the discussion by introducing the speakers and the topic itself and the current insecurity felt in Bosnia. H.E. Vanja Filipović then spoke about what the Bosnian government was doing to secure the country and how strategies of dehumanisation used in the Balkans are being used by the Russians in Ukraine. He argued that Russia could destabilize Bosnia to weaken NATO, and that the West must do more to protect the Balkans. Professor Morrison then spoke about the broad situation in the Western Balkans and how Russia has been a spoiler and disrupter in the region, such as in Montenegro in 2016, and how Kosovo has been used to justify the intervention in Ukraine. Professor Gow related the current situation in Ukraine to Bosnia talking about the similarities and the differences, notably Russian nuclear weapons, between the two wars. He also spoke of how Russian support is still needed to maintain security in the Balkans. Helena Ivanov spoke of her the lack of political will to foster reconciliation and her own frustrating experiences in trying to foster cooperation. She argued the fighting in Ukraine has reignited debates on territorial integrity in the region

The discussion then closed with a series of questions from the audience on, where do the Balkans go form here, what is the international community doing, what can be done about the new East-West divide, the role of sanctions, and what is being done to guarantee the integrity of upcoming elections in the region.




15th March 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


United Kingdom


H.E. Vanja Filipović, Professor Kenneth Morrison, Alicia Kearns MP, Professor James Gow


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