The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies hosted an online roundtable discussion on “A Stronger Alliance: NATO and the War in Ukraine” on Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 12:00-1:00 pm EST.
Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine has resulted in a major change in Northern Europe’s security landscape. In April 2023, Finland became the 31st member of NATO, ending its decades-long policy of military non-alignment. Sweden is eager to join NATO as well. What does this historic development mean for the alliance, including the Baltic states? Does Finland’s decision to join NATO to secure its freedom represent a possible model for Ukraine? How did the war in Ukraine and Finland’s NATO membership fundamentally reshape Baltic security?
These and other questions were tackled by Yevgeniya Gaber (Atlantic Council), Marko Lehti (Tampere Peace Research Institute), and Kaarel Piirimäe (University of Tartu/University of Helsinki). The webinar was moderated by Aušra Park (Siena College) and welcome remarks were delivered by AABS President Dovilė Budrytė (Georgia Gwinnett College).
Yegveniya Gaber is a Ukrainian foreign policy expert, non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Center in Modern Turkish Studies, Carleton University.
Prior to this, she worked as a foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine and deputy director of the Diplomatic Academy at the MFA of Ukraine. She has a diplomatic background from her foreign assignment at the Embassy of Ukraine in Ankara in 2014-2018 and academic experience from the Odesa National Mechnikov University (Ukraine) and Carleton University (Canada), where she has taught graduate courses on Black Sea security, Ukrainian and Turkish foreign policies. Dr. Gaber has published numerous academic articles, policy papers and book chapters on European and regional security. She has delivered lectures in diplomatic and defence academies across Europe and is a frequent commentator in media.
Tampere Peace Research Institute
Marko Lehti is a Research Director of Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI) and an Academic Director of master’s programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research (PEACE) both at Tampere University, Finland. Lehti’s current research focusses on peace mediation and peacebuilding, multilateralism, and changing global order. In his research, he has also dealt with transnational encounters, identifications as well as perceptions Europe’s imaginary dividing lines among others in the Baltic countries, the Nordics, the South Caucasus, and the Balkans. His latest publications include “Suspending the antagonism: situated agonistic peace in a border bazaar” (with Romashov) Third World Quarterly (2022), “Contestations of Liberal Order. The West in Crisis?” (with Pennanen and Jouhki) (Palgrave 2020) and “The Era of Private Peacemakers. A New Dialogic Approach to Mediation” (Palgrave 2019).
University of Tartu/University of Helsinki
Kaarel Piirimäe is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Tartu and Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki. In 2009, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge with a thesis on the Big Three Allies and the Baltic question during the Second World War. Piirimäe has edited several collective volumes on Baltic history. He has written on Western intellectuals’ views on self-determination, the Baltic revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Estonian diplomatic history. Currently he is researching security policies of the Baltic Sea region in the 1990s as well as anti-colonial self-determination and human rights in the 1960s-1970s.
Dr. Piirimäe currently serves as AABS Vice-President for Professional Development.
Ausra Park is Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Siena College in New York, USA. She is a recipient of several prestigious awards and research grants, among which are a Fulbright US Scholar award, the German Marshall Fund of the United States Dissertation Research Fellowship, and American Councils for International Education Advanced Research Fellowship. Her research focuses on small post-communist states, women’s political leadership, gender in diplomacy, comparative foreign policy, migration, and human trafficking in post-communist Europe. Park’s work has been published in various top ranking journals, including Europe-Asia Studies, East European Politics, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, and Journal of Contemporary European Studies. She recently served as Vice-President for Publications on the AABS Board (2020-2022).
Georgia Gwinnett College
Dovilė Budrytė is Professor of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College. In 2015, 2018 and 2019 she was a visiting professor at Vilnius University and Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. She has published articles and books on various topics related to minority rights and memory politics in Lithuania, including Memory and Trauma in International Relations: Theories, Cases and Debates (co-editor with Erica Resende, Routledge 2013), and Crisis and Change in Post-Cold War Global Politics: Ukraine in a Comparative Perspective (co-edited with Erica Resende and Didem Buhari, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). In 2014/15, she was the recipient of the University System of Georgia Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Budrytė currently serves as the President of AABS.