Beyond Traditional Boundaries: From State-Centric Diplomacy to More Participatory Approaches for a Sustainable Future in the Western Balkans

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Elira Luli
Mirela Metushaj


The contemporary era has witnessed a significant evolution in diplomacy, transitioning from traditional state-led approaches to more open, multilateral methods and channels. This study evaluates the effectiveness and suitability of the new diplomatic disciplines, particularly in the Western Balkans region, which grapples with numerous structural challenges, ethnic and political divisions, and external interference. The influence of traditional state-centric diplomacy in this region necessitates a shift towards a more participatory, multi-stakeholder approach to promoting positive peace and cooperation. This reframing of diplomacy emphasizes the emergence of regionalism and multilateralism through multi-track diplomacy, involving private individuals, non-governmental organizations, societies, and engaged citizens to foster understanding through dialogue, cooperation, and deeper interaction. The analysis highlights the influence of innovative diplomatic channels interlinked and entrenched through a capillary diplomacy framework essential for regional application while exploring the constraints of traditional methods. It advocates for fresh diplomatic strategies and collaborative initiatives in the Western Balkans through a win-win formula and a participatory model based on multi-track diplomacy – repurposed and redesigned to advance the reconciliation process, rapprochement, and raise public awareness through effective communication in line with the EU integration goals and advancements. 



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How to Cite
Luli, Elira, and Mirela Metushaj. 2024. “Beyond Traditional Boundaries: From State-Centric Diplomacy to More Participatory Approaches for a Sustainable Future in the Western Balkans”. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs 10 (2):74-96.
Author Biographies

Elira Luli, "Luarasi” University, Tirana, Albania

Dr. Elira Luli is a Lecturer and Researcher at “Luarasi” University in Tirana, Albania. She earned her Ph.D. in International Relations and Political Science from the European University of Tirana in 2017. Recognized as a George C. Marshall Centre Alumni Scholar in 2022, she is a fellow researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Koszeg (IASK), Hungary, investigating Western Balkans-EU relations. Her research delves into Southeast European Studies, focusing on European Integration, societal transitions, security challenges, foreign influences in the Western Balkans, diplomacy and cooperation, good governance, and identity issues. With a robust academic lecturing background covering international relations and political science topics, Dr. Luli consistently engages in diverse academic conferences and has authored a significant body of work published in esteemed national and international peer-reviewed journals within her specialized field.

Mirela Metushaj, "Aleksander Moisiu” University, Tirana, Albania

Dr. Mirela Metushaj, is a Lecturer and Researcher at Aleksandër Moisiu University of Durrës, Albania. She holds a degree from University of Political Sciences ‘’Cesare Alfieri’’ in Florence Italy and a PhD in ‘’Geopolitics’’ from the University of Social Sciences in Tirana. Since 2019 she has been a full-time lecturer at the Department of Political Science at "Aleksander Moisiu" University on Geopolitics, Diplomacy and International Security and Terrorism. Dr. Metushaj has authored and co-authored considerable number of publications in peer reviewed journals at regional, national and international conferences in the field of political science and Western Balkan countries politics, security, geopolitical dynamics and transition processes.