Online ballot for Bylaws & Officers

Online voting for the SAS Bylaws and officers is going on November 1-10, 2015. All SAS members will receive an e-mail with instructions explaining the voting procedure.

Below, members and the public will find the final draft of the proposed SAS Bylaws and the list of nominees, which are subject to the vote.

All members are asked to participate and cast their vote!

Please find a list of all SAS board nominees below. Elections and a ballot on the proposed SAS Bylaws will be held November 1-10, 2015. All members are invited to support SAS by participating and voting.

President* (2-year term)

Besnik Pula

Besnik Pula’s (Ph.D., University of Michigan) research interests lie in the comparative political economy of developing countries, post-communist transformations, and the social and institutional impacts of globalization. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at Virginia Tech. His current interests include issues of European integration and what those processes have meant for both regional economies in Europe as well as the global political economy more generally. His doctoral dissertation, State, Law, and Revolution: Agrarian Power and the National State in Albania, 1850-1945, is a comparative historical study of agrarian relations and state building in Albania and is based on archival research performed in the Central State Archive of Albania. His research has appeared in East European Politics, Political Power and Social Theory, Theory and Society, Comparative Studies in History and Society, and Nationalities Papers. He has also contributed chapters to World Hegemonic Transformations, The State and Crisis in Neoliberalism (edited by Yildiz Atasoy), Sociology and Empire (edited by George Steinmetz), and The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence (edited by Anna Di Lellio). Dr. Pula has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER), the Fulbright program, International Researcher and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS). His scholarship has been twice awarded by the Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology of the American Sociological Association, including his dissertation which received Honorable Mention for the Theda Skocpol Best Dissertation Award.

President-Elect (2-year term)

Anna Di Lellio

Prof. Anna Di Lellio is a Professor of Politics at the Graduate Program in International Relations of the The New School for Public Engagement, and at the International Relations Program of New York University. Her research focuses on Kosovo, particularly on nationalism, security, transitional justice and state-building. She is the editor of The Case for Kosova. Passage to Independence (Anthem, 2006), and the author of The Battle of Kosovo 1389. An Albanian Epic (I.B. Tauris, 2009). She is the Director of the Kosovo Oral History Initiative.

Treasurer (4-year term)

Robert Austin

Robert Clegg Austin is a specialist on East Central and Southeastern Europe in historic and contemporary perspective at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES) at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. In the past, Austin was a Tirana-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; a Slovak-based correspondent with The Economist Group of Publications; and a news writer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto. Austin has written articles for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Southeast European Times, Orbis, East European Politics and Societies and East European Quarterly along with numerous book chapters and two books published separately in Tirana and Prishtina. His most recent book, “Founding a Balkan State”, was published with the University of Toronto Press in October 2012. At the Munk School he coordinates the Undergraduate European Studies Program, the Hellenic Studies Program and the Hungarian Studies Program.

Newsletter Editor (2-year term)

Viktor Ivezaj

Viktor Ivezaj is a Ph.D. student at Wayne State University where he specializes in Balkan politics – minority rights, nationalism, ethnic conflict and polarization. His dissertation will focus on the shifting Albanian Identity in post-conflict Yugoslavia. Ivezaj recently served as a Special Lecturer in Oakland University’s Department of Political Science where he taught courses in World Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy. In 2009, Ivezaj co-authored a Feasibility Study on the legal establishment of the Municipality of Tuzi. Ivezaj currently serves as a Consultant for several Albanian-American associations, including several other NGOs dealing with minority rights issues in Kosova, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Ivezaj’s forthcoming research includes Incomplete Democracies in Transition: Problems with Minority Rights and Majority Rule in the Balkans and The Politics of Identity in Montenegro: The Effects of Preference Falsification and Ethnic Polarization Among the Albanian Minority. Along with Professor Shinasi Rama (NYU), Ivezaj is working on an edited volume examining Albanian minority politics in Montenegro. Ivezaj also served on the international editorial board of the International Journal of Albanian Studies (IJAS).

Board member (to elect four, two at four year terms and two at two year terms)*

Agron Alibali

A native of Albania, Agron Alibali’s research centers on issues of legal and electoral reform, human and minority rights, and development and reform of banking and financial institutions in southeastern Europe. A graduate of the University of Tirana Law School and Boston University School of Law, Alibali has worked at the Albanian Ministry of Justice and John Hancock Financial Services. He has been a consultant for the World Bank and an adjunct professor at Bryant University where he taught banking and business law. He has promoted and pursued several projects in southeastern Europe, including curriculum development, constitutional and electoral reform, environmental law, and bilateral university partnerships. Mr. Alibali has published several articles in various legal journals covering different aspects of positive and customary law. As a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School in 2000, he researched and presented work on Kosovo’s legal status after NATO’s intervention and also on the legal status of ethnic minorities in the European Union. Through his work with local NGO’s in Albania, Alibali has contributed in further developing international environmental law especially in connection with various compliance mechanisms of international financial institutions. In 2008, he was nominated as a candidate member with the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Gent Carrabregu

Gent Carrabregu is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Theory at the Department of Political Science, Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). His research interests are primarily focused on the history of Western political thought (early and late modern) and contemporary moral philosophy and democratic theory (especially Rawls and Habermas). His doctoral dissertation is an exploration of the relationship between philosophy and political ethics in the political thought of Kant, Hegel, Arendt, and Habermas. He also takes an interest in the intellectual history of Albanian political and social thought, focusing especially on Kosovar Albanian thinkers in the former communist Yugoslavia. Essays of his have been published in academic journals such as Theory & Event and Political Theory. In addition, an essay of his on Ukshin Hoti’s political thought has been published as part of an edited collection of essays in Albanian (Publikja Shqiptare, 2012). He has presented his work in progress in numerous academic conferences around the world. He is currently (AY2015-16) a Visiting Instructor of Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG).

Victor Friedman

Victor Friedman received his B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Reed College in 1970 and his Ph. D. in both Slavic Languages and Literatures and in General Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1975. Currently he is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago with a joint appointment in Linguistics and Slavic Languages and Literatures and an associate appointment in Anthropology. Friedman has done fieldwork in the Balkans for over thirty-five years and has received research grants from Fulbright-Hays, IREX, ACLS, NEH, APS, etc. He has over 200 publications, including Studies on Albanian and Other Balkan Languages (2004). He has been a visiting scholar at Cornell (Balkan linguistics, LSA summer institute 1997), University of Skopje (Balkan Identity, 1999), Central European University-Budapest (Romani linguistics 1999, 2001, 2003), Kyoto University (Balkan linguistics, 1999), National University of Malaysia (Southeast Europe/Southeast Asia: Comparative Perspectives, 2000), University of Helsinki (Balkan linguistics, 2000), University of Prishtina (Balkan and Caucasian linguistics, 2002), and LaTrobe University (Research Center for Linguistic Typology, Balkan linguistics, 2004). Friedman’s research centers on grammatical categories (particularly the verb), language contact, and sociolinguistics (especially problems of variation and standardization) in the Balkans and the Caucasus. Owing to the intimate connections of language with politics and ethnic identity in these parts of the world, his work has of necessity been interdisciplinary. His publications deal with the following languages: Albanian, Aromanian (Vlah), Azeri, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (especially the Torlak dialects), Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Judezmo, Lak, Macedonian, Megleno-Romanian, Romani, Romanian, Russian, Tadjik, Turkish.

Nita Luci

Nita Luci holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Her Ph.D. thesis is titled Seeking Independence: Making Nation, Memory and Manhood in Kosovo. She also teaches at the American University in Kosovo. Her research has focused on topics of gender and manhood, state, post-socialism, nationalism, contemporary art, body, memory, and violence. In Spring 2013 she was visiting research scholar at Dartmouth College and Fellow at the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth. In addition to her university engagements she also serves on the boards of a number of civil-society organizations in Kosovo focusing on gender, LGBT, and activism. She has also worked with initiatives in the area of contemporary art, such as editing the publication of four supplements titled “Women n/or Witches: Representation, Feminism and Art.” She was formerly an advisor for the UNDP project Women’s Safety and Security Initiative focusing on institutional capacity building, support to women’s shelters, and research on issues of domestic violence and trafficking in human beings, including the drafting of the law on domestic violence in Kosovo. She also co-founded the independent feminist organization Alter Habitus – Institute for Studies in Society and Culture, which has focused on gender perspectives to post-war collective memory in Kosovo. She has received numerous research grants and fellowships, and has been a Returning Scholar Fellow for the past five years with the OSI Academic Fellowship Program. Her publications include: Masculine Habitus: How to Think of Men in Kosova (2011); Un/welcomed Guests: NATO Intervention in Kosova (2011); Events and Sites of Difference: Mark-ing Self and Other in Kosovo (co-authored with Predrag Markovic, 2009); The Politics of Remembrance and Belonging: Life Histories of Albanian Women in Kosova (co-authored book with Vjollca Krasniqi, 2006); Endangering Masculinity in Kosovo: Can Albanian Women Say No? (2002). She is also lecturer at the University of Prishtina, Department of Anthropology, where she heads the University Program for Gender Studies and Research at the Institute for Social Studies and the Humanities, University of Prishtina. She also coordinates the TEMPUS project Human Rights at the Heart of Higher Education at the Faculty of Philosophy.

Elidor Mëhilli

Elidor Mëhilli is Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College. His work focuses on modern Europe, authoritarian regimes, and globalization, and he teaches courses on 19th and 20th century European history, international history, and dictatorships. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton University and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (2011-2012) and a Mellon fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Forum (2012-2013). He has also been a visiting fellow at the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung in Potsdam, Germany (2012) and at Birkbeck College in London, United Kingdom (2014). His recent commentary has appeared in Quartz ( and The Conversation (

Elton Skendaj

Dr. Elton Skendaj is a lecturer in the department of political science at the University of Miami. His research focuses on how international and local actors can sustain peace and democracy in post-war societies. His book, Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the making of Ethical Institutions (Cornell University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2014) examines the role of international actors in building effective state bureaucracies and democratic institutions in post-war Kosovo. In addition to several book chapters, his articles are published or forthcoming in Global Governance and Problems of Postcommunism. Dr. Skendaj is also conducting research on Corruption and Anti-corruption reform in the Western Balkans, a project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. He has also worked professionally with international organizations and civil society organizations in Europe and the US. Skendaj holds a Ph.D. in government from Cornell University, and has had research fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars and the University of Notre Dame.

Jane C. Sugarman

Jane C. Sugarman is Professor of Music at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and director of the doctoral program in ethnomusicology. Since the early 1980s she has conducted research on Albanian music and dance among communities in Macedonia, Kosova, and their diasporas. She is the author of Engendering Song: Singing and Subjectivity at Prespa Albanian Weddings (1997), and articles that relate music and dance to gender, nation, transnationalism, and conflict and post-conflict situations. Her current research focuses on mediated Albanian musics in Kosova during and since the socialist period.

Board member (graduate student member, two or four year term*):

Chelsi West Ohueri

Chelsi West Ohueri is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation, Mapping Race and Belonging in the Margins of Europe: Albanian, Romani, and Egyptian Sentiments, draws from long-term, ethnographic research in Central and Northern Albania. She has conducted research in Albania since 2006 and her primary areas of interest include race and racialization, identity, nationalism, and the anthropology of space and place. She is currently working to publish an article on Balkano-Egyptian communities in Tirana. West Ohueri plans to defend her dissertation in the spring of 2016.

  • denotes extraordinary election. SAS will normally only elect a President-Elect, but due to the need to fill the current vacancy, an extraordinary election for President is being held. Board members will serve staggering terms of four years. However, due to the need to fill vacancies, SAS will elect two Board members with shortened terms of two years. The decision on which candidates will fill the 2-year and 4-year positions will be made after the elections via a random draw.