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#BalkansDebrief is an online interview series presented by the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center and hosted by journalist Ilva Tare. The program offers a fresh look at the Western Balkans and examines the region’s people, culture, challenges, and opportunities. Follow along on Twitter @ACEurope with #BalkansDebrief.
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🎙️ An Englishman in the Balkans 🎧

Encouraging you to find out more about Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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In this podcast, you'll get a unique look at my life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the eyes of an immigrant. Each episode, I share my experiences living in this often misunderstood country, and introduce you to some of the interesting people I have met along the way. From exploring the rich culture and history, to discussing the challenges and joys of immigrating to a new country, this podcast offers a thoughtful and engaging look at life in the Balkans. www.anenglishmaninthebalkans.com
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В този епизод д-р Самуил Камбуров разговаря с Пънар Тахсин Ваид по темата „Арабистиката в България и на Балканите“. Пънар Тахсин Ваид завършва специалност „Арабистика“ към катедра „Арабистика и семитология“ в Софийския университет „Св. Климент Охридски“. По време на следването си прекарва един семестър във Висшия институт за изучаване на чужди езиц…
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The recent International Republican Institute (IRI) poll on the Western Balkans has revealed some concerning trends for the region's aspirations of joining the European Union. While the war in Ukraine presented a potential opening, the path to membership appears to be facing significant challenges. Nonresident Senior Fellow Ilva Tare is joined by A…
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In this episode, I discuss the brutalist Spomenik monuments of the former Yugoslavia with Donald Niebel - founder of the Spomenik Database. Donald is an environmental scientist turned researcher from the United States We delve into the historical significance, architectural design, and location details of these unique, massive structures. Donald ex…
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The Western Balkans stand at a pivotal moment. Regional stability, security, and prosperity require a more robust US engagement. EU accession remains the goal but simmering ethnic tensions and resurgent nationalism demand a comprehensive US strategy that includes specific and actionable commitments. In the light of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukrai…
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Това е първата част от разговора на д-р Васил Караджов с Красимира Кодукова за виното и винения туризъм в България и на Балканите. Красимира Кодукова е винен технолог, агроном и екскурзовод. Завършва магистратури по „Технология на ферментационни продукти“ в Университета по хранителни технологии и „Лозарство и винарство“ в Аграрния университет в Пло…
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Това е втората част от разговора на д-р Васил Караджов с Красимира Кодукова за виното и винения туризъм в България и на Балканите. Красимира Кодукова е винен технолог, агроном и екскурзовод. Завършва магистратури по „Технология на ферментационни продукти“ в Университета по хранителни технологии и „Лозарство и винарство“ в Аграрния университет в Пло…
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В този епизод д-р Самуил Камбуров разговаря с д-р Даниела Цанкова-Ганчева по темата „Българските бойни знамена от Освобождението до края на Втората световна война в балкански контекст (1878–1945)“. Даниела Цанкова-Ганчева има магистърска степен по „История“ с профил „Археология“ от Софийския университет „Св. Климент Охридски“. Завършва и магистрату…
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As the May 8th runoff looms, the people of North Macedonia are gearing up for a pivotal parliamentary election that will chart the nation’s course towards European Union integration, alongside the decisive second round of the presidential election. The outcomes are anticipated to signal a shift in the electorate’s mood, reflecting their discontent …
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The Western Balkans remain a security concern, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recently, France has deployed a battalion as part of the Strategic Reserve Force to assist the EUFOR mission and exercise a level of deterrence in Bosnia and Kosovo, two countries with security issues, where France wants to see progress. Ilva Tare, a Nonresident Sen…
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The script is an interview with Mile Mićić about his project Bosana, a fantasy world inspired by Bosnia. He discusses his inspirations, cultural heritage, struggles in creation, and the value of financial support through platforms like Patreon. Mile shares his hopes of connecting people through storytelling and invites audiences to join the Bosana …
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This episode of the podcast features an in-depth conversation with Arianna, a vibrant Latin woman who has made Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, her home. Arianna shares her experiences of moving for love, transitioning from a glamorous life aboard cruise ships to setting roots in a new country. With discussions ranging from cultural shocks, embr…
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North Macedonia, a small nation of 2 million, in the Western Balkans, gained international attention in 2019, when it agreed to the seemingly impossible: changing its name in exchange for EU negotiations and NATO membership. While NATO membership was secured, EU accession talks have stalled for years. This is largely due to Bulgaria’s demand for Co…
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Kosovo’s recent ban on the dinar, aimed by the Kurti government at curbing illegal cash flow, has sparked tensions with US and the European partners and raised concerns about its impact on the Kosovo Serb community, on the normalization dialogue with Serbia, and Kosovo’s wider relationship with its Western allies. Nonresident Senior Fellow Ilva Tar…
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In This Episode. In this episode of the podcast I talk to Ramajana Mabita, originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina but presently living in Harare in Zimbabwe. I find out what, if any, similarities there are between the two countries, Ramajana’s culture shocks, her love of Zimbabwean fashion and also hear one of her favourite music tracks from this A…
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Hello, I’m David and I write about my life and adventures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Subscribe for free to enjoy occasional posts, podcasts and vlogs from this much misunderstood heart shaped country in the western Balkans. The National Anthem of the Socialist Federated Republic of Yugoslavia - “Hej Slaveni” The Olympic Games in Sarajevo in Februar…
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В този епизод д-р Самуил Камбуров разговаря с Методий Ганчев по темата „Създаване и реализиране на туристически продукт в България и Балканите“. Методий Ганчев е роден през 1991 г. в София. Завършва средно образование в Националната природо-математическа гимназия „Акад. Любомир Чакалов“ с профил „Науки за земята“. През 2014 г. завършва бакалавърска…
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It seems that wherever I go in Bosnia and Herzegovina, traditional skills and cultural activities are slowly disappearing. From making instruments, to dancing and much more, the latest generations of young people, don't seem interested, and that could mean a massive impact on the heritage of not only this misunderstood country but also the wider re…
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This episode takes us from the picturesque landscapes of the Lake District in the United Kingdom to the rugged mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I catch up with equine photographer Ruth Chamberlain, who last year (2022), embarked on a remarkable journey to document the captivating lives of the wild horses of Livno. I find out about how Ruth's ma…
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В този епизод Васил Караджов разговаря с доц. д-р Симеон Кацаров за Австро-Унгария и Балканите. Симеон Кацаров завършва специалност „История" и „Българска филология" в Пловдивския университет „Паисий Хилендарски". През 2005 г. успешно защитава докторат по Нова и най-нова обща история в Института по история при Българската академия на науките. Темат…
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Banja Luka is the birthplace of Nataša Konjević a female muralist. At the time of recording this episode, Nataša is the only female muralist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, doing big scale murals on buildings. Yes, there are more women and men doing murals, (but none of the other girls paint on a large scale of 10 or 15 meters high In my opinion, Nataša…
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In this episode I get to talk to Biljana Lipić, a resident of Cornwall in the United Kingdom but originally from Sarajevo.Biljana lives on a boat anchored on a Cornish river. I first found out about Biljana from a story that I stumbled across online. I have to admit that I have always had an interest in narrow boating, and living on the water in ge…
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2024 has already plunged the Western Balkans into a maelstrom of complex developments. Serbia's post-election protests, the precarious Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, and the Kremlin-aligned Dodik's paramilitary parade all raise critical questions about the region's stability. In this episode of #BalkansDebrief, Ilva Tare, Europe Center's Nonresident Senio…
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In this episode I catch up with Vesna Djukić to find out about how she celebrates Serbian Orthodox Christmas in the United Kingdom. With Vesna's Serbian background and David's enthusiasm for embracing different cultures, they delve into topics such as maintaining cultural identity, introducing Serbian customs to British friends, and the challenges …
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As 2024 dawns, the Balkans cling to a fragile dream: EU membership. But the region and the Union itself are beset by internal tremors. From simmering protests in Serbia to looming threats and economic storms, the region braces for a year of turbulence. Can they emerge resilient from this crucible? Ilva Tare, Nonresident Senior Fellow, delves into t…
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Serbia witnessed a tumultuous end to 2023, with protests erupting in Belgrade following the December 17th elections. Thousands demand the annulment, alleging President Vučić's Progressive Party fabricated results through cross-border voting. Despite claiming a "cleanest and most honest" victory, international observers have condemned widespread fra…
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In this episode I chat with Bela Dominković, a Swiss wine expert now residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We talk about the unique wine culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country's potential for wine tourism, the unique characteristics of Bosnian wines, and the challenges faced by local winemakers. Bela, an experienced sommelier and food & wine …
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This episode is about David's adventure to Travnik, a charming town in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. With the assistance of local guide Ben, David unveils the rich history, mouth-watering cuisine, captivating architecture and stunning nature of Travnik. Highlighting the efforts of passionate locals, this episode explores Travnik's potential as a …
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Join me in this heart-touching podcast with the inspiring Sabina Vajrača, a Bosnian film director making her mark in the film industry. Sabina shares the trials and tribulations she faced, from fleeing Bosnia on her own at the age of 14, to making it big in Hollywood. She gives a glimpse into her journey and the power of perseverance. During the co…
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A sigh of relief, perhaps even cautious optimism, has swept across the Western Balkans. The EU Council's decision to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, alongside a conditional green light for Bosnia and Herzegovina, signals renewed engagement with the region. But is this truly a new dawn, or just a flicker of light in persistent uncerta…
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A nostalgic dive into the history, culture, and experiences of an Englishman living in the Balkans during Yugoslavia's era. Martin Gannon shares his journey from England to Yugoslavia in the 20th century, his experiences of working in the tourism sector, including establishing a pilgrimage route to Međugorje, and his life in Yugoslav Airlines. He a…
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Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to a rich tapestry of stories, many of which are still undiscovered even by those who live in the country. In this episode of our podcast, we delve into the extraordinary connection between Ladino and Sevdah music, and how a Jewish prayer sparked a musical journey that resonates deeply with the soul of this nation. Se…
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Dr. Samir Osmanagić an anthropology professor and pyramid researcher, provides a deep-dive into the pyramids discovered in Visoko, Bosnia Herzegovina. He offers a profound analysis of the pyramid phenomenon worldwide as he unveils the true potential of pyramids, not just as architectural marvels, but as providers of energy and healing forces. Liste…
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In a groundbreaking agreement, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Albanian counterpart Edi Rama have agreed to establish a migrant processing center in Albania. The center will be funded by Italy and operate under Italian jurisdiction. This unprecedented move, with funding from Italy and operation under Italian jurisdiction, has sparked …
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Today, I have a truly inspiring guest, Sheila Savanović, a resilient lady from Micronesia who has made an extraordinary journey from the eastern Pacific to Southeastern Europe. Sheila shares her fascinating story of meeting her husband in China, settling in Banja Luka, and the cultural adjustments she had to make along the way. From learning the lo…
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Kosovo’s government’s accepted the US-backed EU draft for the Association of Serbian Municipalities (ASM), a positive move towards normalizing Serbia-Kosovo relations. However, the questions remain on how to ensure the ASM’s implementation. Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Kosovo, Jeffrey M. Hovenier says it is crucial to move for…
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In this compelling podcast, Dijana Tepšić shares her journey; from a radio presenter during demanding times to a successful entrepreneur in the Balkan media industry. I caught up with Dijana on a sunny November day in Banja Luka. Dijana talks about her varied career path, her adventures in radio presenting, her inspiring work in women's rights, and…
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В този епизод Васил Караджов разговаря с доц. д-р Михаил Груев. Това е петият от серията епизоди, посветени на 80-годишнината от спасяването на българските евреи по време на Втората световна война. Доц. д-р Михаел Груев е завършил специалност „История“ в Софийския университет „Св. Климент Охридски“. Той е доктор по история с дисертация на тема „Бъл…
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This episode is a bit different from our usual ones. Instead of interviewing fascinating individuals about Bosnia and Herzegovina, I’m sharing some personal experiences and observations from my life in this heart-shaped country. I had an interesting episode planned for you today. I was going to take you on a walk through my village, describing the …
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After four and a half months of negotiations, a new pro-EU government led by the "Europe Now" leader, Milojko Spajic, was voted in by Parliament. The government includes a coalition of pro-European and pro-Serbian parties. In reaction to the appointment of Andrija Mandic, head of a pro-Serb and pro-Russia alliance called "For a Better Montenegro," …
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In this episode I explore the emotional journey of Ivana Štrbac-Alfonso, who was forced to leave her home in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the conflict in the 1990s. Ivana, who was only five to six years old at the time, lived in a village outside Zenica, a moderately large town in middle Bosnia. The episode delves into the pain and struggle of lea…
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Welcome to this special throwback episode of the podcast, celebrating 10 years of “An Englishman in the Balkans”. The journey began in 2007 in Canada, and after a brief hiatus, it was relaunched in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2013. Over the years, the podcast has evolved, even changing titles a couple of times. This episode revisits the very first on…
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Това е втора част на разговора на доц. д-р Калин Йорданов с гл. ас. д-р Йоанна Бенчева за храненето и диететиката във византийско-балканския свят в периода X–XV в. Йоанна Бенчева завършва НГДЕК „Св. Константин Кирил Философ“. Има магистърски степени по история и право от СУ „Св. Климент Охридски“, където защитава и докторска дисертация на тема „Хра…
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The European Parliament's (EP) resolution condemning Serbia's actions in northern Kosovo marks a significant development in the ongoing crisis between the two countries. The resolution calls for a freeze on funding for the Serbian government if it is found to have been directly involved in the recent attack in Banjska. In a debrief with Nonresident…
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Hello, this episode is a bit different from normal, because I’m replaying a podcast episode thats not mine. Let me explain. Back in may I was a guest on a fantastic podcast hosted by Slavenka Vuković- Bryan called Two Worlds, One Me. I think the podcast title is pretty explanatory, but basically my two world have been and are, the UK and my now ado…
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Това е първа част на разговора на доц. д-р Калин Йорданов с гл. ас. д-р Йоанна Бенчева за храненето и диететиката във византийско-балканския свят в периода X–XV в. Йоанна Бенчева завършва НГДЕК „Св. Константин Кирил Философ“. Има магистърски степени по история и право от СУ „Св. Климент Охридски“, където защитава и докторска дисертация на тема „Хра…
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Painting Pictures with Words and Sound. In this episode I want to share an intriguing conversation I had with Alexandra Bučko, a passionate podcasting enthusiast in the Western Balkans. In this interview, we delve into the world of podcasting and the challenges and opportunities it presents in the region. The Balkans is a place of rich culture and …
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The recent murder of a Kosovar Albanian police officer by dozens of Serbian gunmen in the north of Kosovo is a reminder of the increasing security concerns between the two nations and the region at large. Given that the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue for comprehensive normalization has reached a dead end, how should the international community r…
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The war in Ukraine has renewed interest in EU enlargement in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. The Berlin Process, which has been working to revitalize ties between Western Balkan candidate countries and the EU for the last 10 years, is now seeing its efforts pay off. The 2023 Tirana Civil Society and Think Tank Forum is playing a key role in…
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In this special episode, I delve into the captivating world of the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the world's rarest and most significant historical documents. Join me as i unravel the mysteries and stories surrounding this ancient manuscript, which resides in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. My guest for this episode is Aleksandra Bunčić,…
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В този епизод Васил Караджов разговаря с доц. Иво Топалилов за евреите на Балканите през Античността и за античната синагога на Филипопол. Това е четвъртият от серията епизоди, посветени на 80-годишнината от спасяването на българските евреи по време на Втората световна война. Иво Топалилов завършва магистратура по класическа археология в Софийския …
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