Valbona Zeneli, Ph.D.

A photograph of Dr. Zeneli lecturing at a George C. Marshall event.
Portrait image
A portrait photograph of Dr. Zeneli

Valbona Zeneli, Ph.D.

Strategic Initiatives Department

Dr. Zeneli joined the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in August 2011 as a professor of national security studies. She is also Chair of the Strategic Initiatives Department. Previously, she served as the Black Sea and Eurasia program director and deputy director for the Central and Southeast Europe program.

Valbona Zeneli is member of the teaching faculty for the Program in Applied Security Studies (PASS), the Program on Countering Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking (CNIT), the Program on Cyber Security Studies (PCSS), the Senior Executive Seminar (SES), and the Seminar on Regional Security (SRS).  She is also involved with Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes as a member of the working group on Southeast Europe, and of the security sector reform working group.

Before joining the GCMC, Dr. Zeneli was a professor of international economics at the European University of Tirana from 2009-2011 and associate professor at the New York University of Tirana from 2006-2011. From 2003-2005, Dr. Zeneli has served as chief of protocol and later economic adviser to the Albanian prime minister. Prior to that, she worked as adviser to the minister of economy of Albania from 2002-2003. She has also worked in the private sector advising companies on marketing and international relations. 

Dr. Zeneli holds a doctor of science degree (PhD) in political economy from the University of Studies “Aldo Moro,” Bari, Italy (2011), as well as a postgraduate studies degree on international marketing from Georgetown University, Washington D.C (2006). She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Bologna, Italy, where she graduated with honors (2001). Zeneli is also a graduate of the Marshall Center’s Leaders Program in International and Security Studies (2003), and a graduate of the Harvard’s University Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program (2009).

Dr. Zeneli has presented her work at numerous international conferences around the globe and has delivered professional training seminars at the senior level for a variety of government agencies internationally. She has published numerous papers and book chapters and is a frequent contributor to international leading magazines, such as The Diplomat, The Globalist, Atlantic Community, among others.

Dr. Zeneli’s research interests extend to various issues of European and Transatlantic security, with an emphasis on Eastern and Southeastern Europe, economic security, international trade and development; good governance and anticorruption, and security sector reform.


Dancing in the Dark,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 10, No. 3, 2020: 22-29.

COVID-19 and Southeast Europe,(with Matthew RhodesMarshall Center Security Insight, No. 58 (May 2020).

Coronavirus: A True Stresstest for Globalization,” (with Joseph Vann)The Globalist (March 24, 2020).

Is Italy’s Economic Crisis an Opportunity for China?,” (with Michele Capriati) The Diplomat, (April 18, 2020).

Economic Security in the Eastern Partnership,” Marshall Center Security Insight, no. 21 (September 2017).

Corruption and Government Effectiveness,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security and Defense Issues 7, no. 3 (2016): 10-17.

A Burden on the Balkans,” (with Joseph W. Vannper Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 7, no. 1, 2016: 60-63.

Economic Development in the Western Balkans: On the Road to Competitive Market Economies? Connections: The Quarterly Journal 13, no. 4 (2014): 53-66.

International Marketing: An Imperative for Southeast Europe,” (with Michael Czinkota), Marshall Center Security Insight, no. 10 (January 2014).

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: A Historic Deal?” Marshall Center Security Insight, no. 9 (August 2013).

Building a Better Balkans,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security and Defense Issues 4, no. 4 (2013): 10-15.

A Make or Break Year for Serbia and Kosovo?” (Matthew RhodesMarshall Center Security Insight, no. 6 (May 2012).

The Cost of Corruption,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security and Defense Issues 3, no. 1, 2012: 14-19.

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