WASHINGTON, D.C., January 6, 2009 - The Southeast Europe Project today announced its annual selection of Policy and Contributing Scholars and their corresponding research projects under the auspices of the Wilson Center for 2009, as follows:
• Dr. Gulner Aybet of the University of Kent at Canterbury, on "Turkey and the Transatlantic Bargain: Time to Renegotiate?"
• Dr. Ruby Gropas of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), on "Democracy in the Balkans"
• Mete Hatay, International Peace Research Institute-Oslo, on "Migration and the Cyprus Conflict: Toward a Global Perspective"
• Ioannis Tsorbatzoglou of the American College of Thessaloniki, on "A Decade of Development and Reconstruction in Southeast Europe."

"The Wilson Center Southeast Europe Project is pleased to embark on this collaborative effort with such accomplished foreign and security policy specialists," said John Sitilides, Chairman of the Project's Board of Advisors. "As the Obama Administration prepares to take office, we are confident our scholars will contribute distinguished professional experience, extensive regional knowledge, and a commitment to informed and dispassionate scholarship that will strengthen the policy dialogue among America's allies and partners in the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea and surrounding regions."

"Clearly, the level of expertise these scholars bring fulfills part of the program's goal," said Markos Kounalakis, Vice Chairman. "The expectation is for these exemplary scholars to strive for excellence in their research, but also to find practical application and relevance to contemporary democracy's many challenges."

The Southeast Europe Project was established at the Woodrow Wilson Center in January 2005 to promote scholarly research and informed debate about the full range of U.S. political, commercial, and security issues in the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent regions. The project's research and public affairs programs explore regional and functional issues centered on Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and Bulgaria, with particular attention to European Union enlargement and NATO expansion and realignment in the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century.

The project features the Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Lecture Series as a forum for world leaders and distinguished scholars who study, understand, and manifest democracy and reason as classical Hellenism's vital contributions to contemporary statecraft and society.

Dr. Aybet, a lecturer with the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, is working on a new book that shares the title of her project. She received her M.Phil. in War Studies from King's College and her Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Nottingham. She will be at the Wilson Center from April – August 2009.

Dr. Gropas is a Research Fellow at ELIAMEP and a managing editor at the Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. She received her M.Phil. in International Relations and her Ph.D. from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She will be at the Wilson Center from June – August 2009.

Mr. Tsorbatzoglou, an Instructor on International Relations and Political Science at the American College of Thessaloniki, also serves as coordinator for the South European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Stability Pact. He previously served as the Regional Manager for the Trade and Transport Facilitation in Southeast Europe, coordinated by the World Bank. He received a Masters of European Administration from the College of Europe in Belgium and an M.A. in Political Science from Tulane University. He will be at the Wilson Center from February – June 2009.

Mr. Hatay is Project Leader at the Cyprus Office of the International Peace Research Institute-Oslo (PRIO) as well as a free lance journalist. Mr. Hatay also serves as a member of the editorial board for The Cyprus Review. As a contributing non-residence scholar, his research will be conducted in Cyprus from April – May 2009.

The Southeast Europe Project offers annual scholarships to encourage the research work of scholars and analysts focused on pertinent regional and functional issues involving Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and Bulgaria, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent regions. All interested scholars are encouraged to pursue additional detailed information at www.wilsoncenter.org/sepcompetition. Applications for 2010 scholars are due on September 1, 2009. More information on all policy and contributing scholars and their projects can be found at www.wilsoncenter.org/sepscholars.