First-Ever: CEU Alumnus Talks NATO Ambassadorship

April 19, 2021

When the Republic of North Macedonia joined NATO in March 2020, becoming its 30th member state, CEU alumnus Dane Taleski (POLS '15 Ph.D) was tapped as the country’s first-ever Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Alliance.

A veteran researcher and policy analyst, Dane presented his credentials to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and got to work in January of this year. We caught up with him recently to discuss the importance of his work and the lasting influence of his CEU experience. 

How did CEU prepare you for your work? 

Animus in consulendo liber (Latin for “A mind unfettered in deliberation”) is the official motto of NATO and the operating mode within the Alliance. CEU is one of those places where one can build one’s individual intellect and skills to cope with that. The quality of teaching, the interactions with students from all across the world and the diversity of opinions; all of these contribute to it. 

What is your primary responsibility as North Macedonia’s NATO Ambassador? 

I represent my country at NATO, primaraly at the North Atlantic Council which is the principal political decision-making body within NATO, based on instructions from my government. Among other things, I lead our national delegation in NATO in the consultations with Allies to reach mutually-acceptable agreements on collective decisions or actions taken by the Alliance. 

What are the most compelling aspects of the job? 

As the newest member state, North Macedonia is still adapting and integrating fully in the work of the Alliance which at times can be challenging. On the other hand, having the possibility to contribute to NATO’s collective defense efforts …is very compelling. The greatest reward is having the opportunity to contribute to peace and stability and to stand with the other Allies in protection of our shared democratic values and principles.

Why is this important? 

NATO membership is a guarantee for our territorial integrity and sovereignty, it strengthened the cohesion of our multiethnic society,consolidated our democracy and had significant positive ramifications for stability and security in the Western Balkan region. We see NATO membership as a doorway towards our EU integration.NATO membership is a gift that keeps on giving.

What do you miss most about your CEU experience? 

I miss Budapest, the friends and colleagues with whom I still keep in touch, even though sporadically these days. I miss the vibrant, dynamic and intellectually-stimulating academic environment. I am still very grateful to my professors, especially my thesis supervisor Dr. András Bozóki, as well as to all my peers that contributed toward my unique, incredible and life-changing experience.