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APSU Week elevates international collaboration at IIPE Winter School

By: Victoria Godinez March 20, 2024


Photo: INSMS Director Dr. Rich Mifsud congratulates a student on the successful completion of APSU Week. Mifsud is flanked by IIPE Director Dr. Branislav Đorđević and IIPE Senior Researcher Dr. Vladimir Trapara as members of the U.S. Embassy delegation look on to the left.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State University's Institute for National Security and Military Studies took center stage at the Institute of International Politics and Economics’ annual Winter School in Belgrade, Serbia, from March 3-9. This marked "APSU Week" at the Winter School, emphasizing the significant presence and collaboration between the institutions.

The IIPE Winter School is an annual platform for top postgraduate students from various Belgrade University faculties to attend lectures on international politics and law. It offers an immersive learning experience with lectures from esteemed academics and experts over six weeks.


Photo: U.S. Embassy Belgrade Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) Deputy Chief Major Marshal Carpenter and INSMS Director Dr. Rich Mifsud lecture on the State Partnership Program.

APSU Week featured in-person lectures by five esteemed academics from Austin Peay:


Photo: APSU Assistant Professor Dr. Rudy Baker delivers a lecture on command responsibility in international criminal law at the IIPE Winter School.

Austin Peay and IIPE solidified their partnership in February 2024 by signing a memorandum of understanding, signifying a joint commitment to advancing global security knowledge and academic exchange.

INSMS, the top institute of its kind in the southeastern United States, specializes in education and research on national security and military studies. Established with state legislature support, INSMS is dedicated to enhancing Tennessee’s leading role in collaborating with and educating the military community. The institute supports faculty research on topics related to national security and military studies.


Photo: APSU Professor Dr. Scott Culhane lectures on serial mass homicide at the IIPE Winter School during APSU Week.

IIPE, founded in 1947, is a distinguished governmental research institution focusing on international relations, diplomacy and defense policy. Over the years, IIPE has played a pivotal role in shaping Yugoslav and Serbian foreign and defense policy through extensive research, analysis and policy recommendations. It has cemented its position as the main research and policy arm of the Serbian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, contributing significantly to the understanding of global affairs in the Balkans and beyond.


Photo: APSU Assistant Professor Dr. Erin Carlin lectures on international mediation as part of APSU Week at the IIPE Winter School.

Students lauded the APSU Week lectures as "insightful" and "enlightening." APSU academics also commended the Winter School students for their enthusiasm, engagement and diverse perspectives, which enriched discussions and fostered critical thinking about global security issues.

The engagement with the U.S. Embassy Belgrade’s Defense Attaché Office and Office of Defense Cooperation during APSU Week was pivotal. Major Marshall Carpenter of the Embassy’s ODC joined Dr. Mifsud’s presentation, and representatives also attended APSU Week's concluding ceremony. This marked the first sustained U.S. engagement with IIPE in over 20 years, a testament to the concerted efforts of Austin Peay and INSMS.


Photo: APSU, IIPE and U.S. Embassy personnel join APSU Week students in a group photo to mark a successful week of international collaboration.

At the end of APSU Week, IIPE Director Branislav Đorđević hailed it as a resounding success and expressed optimism for its permanent integration into the Winter School's annual calendar.