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Partnering for Progress: Austin Peay’s INSMS explores joint initiatives with U.S. Embassy Belgrade

By: Victoria Godinez May 10, 2024

Dr. Rich Mifsud and Dr. Rudy Baker
Dr. Rich Mifsud and Dr. Rudy Baker in Belgrade. 

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade (Serbia) recently welcomed Dr. Rich Mifsud, director of Austin Peay State University’s Institute of National Security & Military Studies (INSMS), and Dr. Rudy Baker, assistant professor at INSMS, for a visit aimed at fostering collaboration with the Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC). 

The visit aimed to coordinate efforts with the ODC, which represents the United States European Command (EUCOM) in coordinating security assistance activities and defense cooperation programs with the Serbian Ministry of Defense. These activities include military education training, humanitarian assistance and partnership programs. INSMS and ODC have collaborated on several projects in Serbia over the past year.

During the meeting, the partners discussed their ongoing activities in Serbia, ensuring their efforts aligned with the U.S. government’s strategic objectives. Topics included potential collaboration areas, mutual interests and leveragingresources effectively. This exchange further solidified the partnership between INSMS and the ODC, demonstrating their commitment to advancing security and cooperation in the region.

Through their visit to the embassy, Mifsud and Baker emphasized INSMS's commitment to building partnerships in Serbia to further its mission as a regional research institution. With a particular focus on national security, intelligence, military strategy and studies relevant to key U.S. partners and strategic challenges in Eastern Europe, INSMS is poised to contribute significantly to regional collaboration and understanding.

More about Dr. Rich Mifsud

Dr. Rich Mifsud, a distinguished military strategist, leader and retired Army colonel, brings a wealth of experience to his role as INSMS’s director. He served as an Army Reserve and National Guard infantry officer for over three decades and retired as an infantry brigade commander. Mifsud's career spans multiple overseas deployments, civil support operations and significant involvement in the National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP) with U.S. security partnerships in Eastern Europe. He holds advanced degrees in organizational change and leadership, strategic studies and emergency and disaster management.

More about Dr. Rudy Baker

Dr. Rudy Baker, an accomplished law and political science scholar, enriches INSMS with his diverse expertise. With a background in international law, comparative criminal law and democratic transitions, Baker's research focuses on the relationships between international institutions and domestic states. He has worked in various academic and governmental settings, including roles in the U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor's Office in Serbia and the U.S. Department of Defense (Defense Intelligence Agency). Baker is also fluent in Persian/Farsi and Serbo-Croatian.

More about INSMS

APSU’s Institute of National Security and Military Studies (INSMS) is the premier institute of its kind in the southeastern United States, specializing in education and research on national security and military studies.

Established with significant support from the state legislature, INSMS is dedicated to bolstering Tennessee’s leading role in military collaboration and education. The institute actively supports faculty research on various topics related to national security and military studies.

For more information on INSMS and its initiatives, please visit https://www.apsu.edu/insms/.