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Valbona Zeneli

Visiting Scholar 2023-2024 (Fall 2023)


Valbona Zeneli

Valbona Zeneli is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center. Zeneli received her Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Bari and a BS in business administration from the University of Bologna. She has completed graduate studies at Georgetown University and Harvard Kennedy School. From 2011 to 2023, she served as a professor of national security studies and chair of strategic engagements at the U.S. Department of Defense’s George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and continues her affiliation as an adjunct professor. Zeneli is a visiting fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute. Previously, she was a non-resident visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) as a member of the Europe’s Future fellows' program.

Zeneli specializes in transatlantic relations, strategic competition, globalization, the international economy, European Union enlargement, and the Western Balkans. She has published numerous papers and book chapters and is a frequent contributor to international policy magazines.

While at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Zeneli will research the long-term implications of Chinese engagement in Europe and explore how China’s increased activities in Europe, specifically Eastern Europe, might shape transatlantic relations. Her study will assess the collective implications of Chinese-related policy and engagement decisions made by different European member countries and seek to map how Chinese activities have developed and played out over the years and what continued Chinese engagement in Europe might look like in the future.

This information is accurate for the time period that the visiting scholar is affiliated with CES.


  • Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Europe Center, Atlantic Council
  • Visiting Scholar 2023-2024, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Research Topic

China’s increased influence in Europe and its impact on transatlantic relations


International Political Economy

Areas of Expertise

Transatlantic Relations
Strategic Competition
Globalization and International Economy
European Union Enlargement
Western Balkans

Select Publications

Zeneli , Valbona. “The Chinese Gift That Keeps on Taking: The Western Balkans.” IWM, Accessed 10 July 2023.

Zeneli, Valbona. “After Ukraine and Coronavirus, Globalization Should Be about Freedom.” The National Interest, 8 Apr. 2022,

Zeneli, Valbona. “‘Berlin: The New Brussels’ – Germany and the Balkans.” Germany’s New Partners, 2019, pp. 135–152,