2018. Forum Speakers


Confirmed speakers and panelists for the 3rd Zagreb Security Forum, scheduled on March 16-17, 2018.

At the 3rd Zagreb Security Forum you will be able to listen, see and meet following experts that will offer their knowledge from the domains of various critical infrastructure protections (energy, water, and cyber).


Dr. Alessandro Lazari - Project Officer, European Commission - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Directorate "Space, Security and Migration", Unit E.02 "Technology innovation in Security". Alessandro Lazari holds a Ph.D. in Computer, Multimedia and Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Florence and He was Lecturer in Legal Informatics at the Specialization School of Law (University of Salento, Lecce, Italy). He graduated in Jurisprudence from the University of Bolongna. Alessandro is member of many research associations and scientific committee such as: the Italian Association Critical Infrastructure Protection (since January 2012 he leads the working group on “Legal issues related to drafting the Operator Security Plan”), the Integrated Mission Group for Security (TA3 – Ethics, Human Factor and Impact on Society), the Italian Chapter of The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) and the AIP-ITCS “Italian Computer Society”. He is currently enrolled as Scientific/Technical Project Officer at the “European Reference Network for Critical Infrastructure Protection” Project at the Joint Research Centre (European Commission)



Anna Abelmann, Research associate and PhD candidate of the Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany, Executive Director of the “International Intelligence History Association” and member of the Editorial Board „Journal of Mediterranean and Balkan Intelligence“. Her doctoral thesis deals with the work of German political foundations in Israel. She specializes in German relations in Israel and the Middle East since 1945, Intelligence and Security Studies and transatlantic security cooperation after World War Two.


Dr. Antonia Dimou serves as diplomatic advisor at the Hellenic Parliament, Greece. She is associate at the Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan; associate at Majlis El Hassan, Jordan’s Royal Court; and, senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Development University of California, Los Angeles, Unites States, since 2006. She is also head of the Middle East Unit at the Institute for Security and Defense Analyses based in Athens, and Advisory Board member of the European Rim Policy and Investment Council based in Cyprus.

Ms. Dimou served as Advisor to the Foreign and Defense Relations Committee, Greek Parliament; Advisor to the Greek Ministers of National Defense; Expert at the General Directorate of Industrial Development, Ministry of Defense; and expert at the Center for Analysis and Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She received an IVLP fellowship by the US State Department, a scholarship by the Greek and Jordanian governments, and a Project Inter-change fellowship of the AJC. 

She holds a certificate on American National Security from Harvard University and on Terrorism and Counter-terrorism from Georgetown university.



Brigadier General (Ret.) Yair Cohen, TSG IT, Israel, had 32 years of Military Service in the IDF, at his last position he served as the Head of the Cyber & Intelligence Unit. After his military service, Mr. Cohen served in several senior positions: Vice President at Elron Electronic Industries Ltd (2005-2009, Nasdaq: ELRNF), leading Israeli holding company dedicated to build technology companies in diverse fields while Mr. Cohen led the investments in Intelligence and Cyber. He was active director at several companies from which Starling, Safend and 3DV Systems were sold in Exits. 

In addition he was active Chairman of ECtel (Nasdaq: ECTX) that also was sold in Exit. In the years 2009-2015 Mr. Cohen established the Cyber Division in Elbit Systems Ltd, (Nasdaq: ESLT), The largest private defense company in Israel.He was the first CEO of the Cyber Company in Elbit Systems.

Mr. Cohen holds a BA degree (Summa cum laude) from Bar Ilan University in Jewish History and Arabic Language and Literature and MA (Magna cum laude) degree from ICAF, National Defense University (NDU), Washington DC, in Management of National Resources. He is currently teaching Cyber for MA in Tel Aviv University and Bar Ilan University.



Prof. Dr. Marc Cools, University of Gent, (b. 1962) holds a PhD in Criminology (Free University of Brussels) and certificates in Business Economics (IPO Management School- Antwerp University) and International Management in the Telecommunications Industry (London Business School). He had different higher-management and board positions in the private security services industry:  Bell Telephone ITT nv, Alcatel Bell nv, Shield nv and Faceo Security & Prevention nv. Currently, he is a member of the board at Securitas Training nv and member of the Mont Pèlerin Society.

He lectured at the Antwerp Police Academy and at the School for Criminology of the Justice Department. He was advisor for the former Belgian Justice Minister, Mr. Marc Verwilghen. Today he is Professor of Criminology at the Free University of Brussels and at Ghent University, he is also Visiting Professor at the Nyenrode University and Paris X University. He also lectures at Antwerp Management School and at the Intelligence & Security School of the Ministry of Defence.



Dr. Pavle Kalinić, Zagreb City Office of Emergency Management, Croatia. Graduated at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb in 1982. In the same year, he received his master's degree in International Relations. He worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Political Science from 1986 to 1987, and at the College of Technical Science from 1987 to 1991. In 1989-1990, as an assistant at the Faculty of Political Science, he participated in the scientific project "Characteristics of Political Behavior in the Region". In 1989 he founded Fokus, the first independent magazine in Croatia, which was published until the end of 1990. During 1991, he participated in the Homeland War as an army officer. He underwent medical treatment in the US after being wounded on the battlefield. He resided in the United States the following two years, returning to Croatia in 1994.

He worked for the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in 1994 and 1995. In 1997, he became a member of the Zagreb City Assembly, as well as a member of the Croatian Parliament in 2000. In 2006, he became head of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports in Zagreb; as of 2008, he is the head of the Zagreb Office of Emergency Management. In July 2012, he obtained his PhD with the thesis The politics of G.W. Bush administration and Islamic terrorism.



Brigadier General (Res.) Dr. Ephraim Lapid,  Bar Ilan University, Israel. Extensive and diverse experience in the military and public affairs arenas. He holds a BA in Middle East Studies and Arabic from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a teacher's degree, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science. His research examines the development of the Israeli intelligence community during the years 1964 to 1979. 

During his long military career, Lapid was a senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Corps, served as an IDF Spokesperson, and was a senior instructor at the National Defense College. He was also the head of Israel Army Radio, Galei Zahal. Following his retirement from the army, Lapid has served in both the public and private sectors.  A prolific author, Lapid has written numerous articles on Israeli intelligence, media and security. He edited a book in English on Israeli intelligence (Israel's Silent Defender). Active in public life, Lapid serves on the board of several public education and non-profit organizations. 



Prof.dr. John M. Nomikos, RIEAS, Greece, Director at the Research Institute for European and American Studies, Chairman of the Mediterranean Council for Intelligence Studies (MCIS), Chairman of the Greek Intelligence Studies Association (GISA), Chairman of the European Intelligence Academy (EIA) and Founding Editor, Journal of Mediterranean and Balkan Intelligence (JMBI). He is Assistant Professor in the Webster University (Athens Campus) and Head, Department of International Relations, History and Politics. He is also Visiting Professor at the Peace Keeping Security Studies (postgraduate program) in the University of Rome (Tre) in Italy. He was Adjunct Professor (2005-2007) at the Department of International Relations in the University of Indianapolis (Athens Camus). He earned his Bachelor Degree in Sociology at the Northeast Louisiana University in 1987, his Masters Degree in European Integration and Cooperation at the University of Hull, 1991, and his Doctorate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Washington International University in 2001. He specializes on transatlantic intelligence studies, intelligence reform, and national security architecture. He has done research and studied in various research institutions in USA, UK, Norway, Finland, Germany and Israel.


Velimir Ostoić, Adriatic Security Solutions d.o.o., Croatia, CEO of Adriatic Security Solutions d.o.o., born 1950. in Varaždin, Croatia, graduated from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Traffic and Transportation Sciences. He is an entrepreneur mainly involved in project management, consulting, development of threat assessments and risk analysis,  security systems design, project revision and facility security plan development. Involved in the area of intelligent transportation systems applications in which he published several papers.




Prof.dr. Shlomo Shpiro, president of International Intelligence History association, Israel, Head of the Europa Institute at bar Ilan University and Senior Research Fellow at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies. Since 2008 he is also Chairman of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA). 

He specializes in intelligence, terrorism and security studies. His research activities concentrate on the role of intelligence services as political mediators in the international arena, the intelligence activities of terror organisations, intelligence ethics and political influence, and on security crisis management and crisis communication.




Dr. Darko Trifunović, Fakultet bezbednosti, Srbij, MSL, PhD  Senior Research Fellow and representative for Serbia and Montenegro of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), Defense & Foreign Affairs publications, and the the Global Information System (GIS). 

He is a Research Fellow and lecturer at the Faculty of Security Studies-University of Belgrade, a specialist in Counter-Terrorism, National and International Security Studies. He has been elected to the position of the visiting professor at the Fudan University in China, Center for American Studies as well as Research Fellow of the Shanghai Institute of European Studies. Senior Advisor at the RIEAS- Research Institute for European and American Studies as well as member of Advisory Board of the Institute of Transnational Studies. He is former First Secretary of the Foreign Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the UN, Adviser to the State Secretary for War Crimes of Republic of Srpska for Terrorism and Violence and he was (in 2005) Adviser to the Minister of Police of the Republic of Srpska, BIH. The Shanghai Center for International Studies appointed Dr. Darko Trifunovic  as the first foreign expert for the Olympic Games (2008) security preparation in China. He was engaged in World Expo Security preparation 2010, Shanghai, Chaina. Dr Darko Trifunovic is one of the founding members of  ICTAC – International Counter Terrorism Academic Community.



Prof.dr. Miroslav Tuđman, St. George Association, Croatia, (b. 1946, Belgrade) Professor of information theory at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Zagreb. Deputy Director of the Office for National Security (UNS) and the Director of the Croatian Intelligence Service (HIS) from 1993 to 1998, and from 1999 to 2000. Contributed to various scientific projects, published four books and over a hundred articles in scientific journals; editor of a dozen miscellaneous works. Active in research, both in the field of information theory and national security and intelligence.




Prof.dr. Slavko Vidović, Infodom d.o.o. Croatia. Throughout his career he has been active in leading large-scale projects in the area of state authority, public companies and organisations. In addition to that, through his scientific-educational efforts he has contributed to a number of scientific and research projects, such as artificial intelligence-specific area, supporting systems in decision-making and application development. He lectures at the Faculty of Organisation and Informatics of the University in Zagreb and holds membership at the National Competitiveness Council, PMI and Tele Management Forum.



Dr. Laris Gaiser, ITSTIME. Graduated in Law at the University of Verona in 2002 with a final dissertation on “The consequences of the devolution of power in United 

Kingdom and the new role of the State in public economy”, earned his Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) of Milano and, after a specialization in crisis management and humanitarian action at UN Staff College, obtained a Ph.D. in Geopolitical Economy at University Guglielmo Marconi of Rome.

From 2012 to 2014 he was Vice President, acting President, of Euro Mediterranean University – EMUNI and member Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Council. Laris Gaiser is president of Slovenian Paneuropean Movement and Presidency member of International Paneuropean Union (Strasbourg). Involved in strategic consultancy, he also served as general manager in several international companies. As a member of ITSTIME – Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies - at Catholic University of Milan (Italy), Senior Scholar at Center for the Study of Global Issues at University of Georgia (USA) and Visiting Lecturer at Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, he regularly teaches geopolicy, geoeconomy and intelligence issues



Dr. Tonći Prodan, Portus et Navem Ltd., Croatia, (born 1965), graduated from the Split Faculty of Maritime Studies. He worked for a number of years in the field of maritime affairs, first as a merchant naval officer in international traffic, then as crew member on oil platforms, and later as employee and manager in the area of maritime economy. He resumed his studies by enrolling at the Faculty of Criminology from which he graduated and earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology. Furthermore, he obtained a master’s degree at the Faculty of Political Science with thesis titled Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and Combat against Terrorism and later  received PhD in Comparative Politics with a doctoral thesis titled The USA and the EU in the Combat against Terrorism – Strategies, Models and Results.

After his maritime service, he had been professionally involved in issues related to national and international security for a number of years as member of the Croatian security system. He published a several scientific articles in the fields of terrorism and counterterrorism in journals and proceedings.



Professor Michael Fredholm is an historian and former military analyst who has published extensively on the history, defense strategies, security policies, and energy sectordevelopments of Eurasia. He currently is the Head of Research and Development at IRI, an independent research institute in Stockholm.IRI emerged out of the work carried out at the Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies (SIPCAS), which originated at Stockholm University and from 2012 was based at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. At Stockholm University, Michael Fredholmmade a special study of Central Asian geopolitics, Afghanistan, Islamic extremism,and the causes of and defense strategies to counter terrorism. He has worked as an independent academic advisor to governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental bodies for more than two decades, including on Foreign Ministry official reports on Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and failing states. He led the team which developed the lone actor terrorism counter-strategy and training program for the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Swedish Police Authority, which was implemented in 2014-2015. The counter-strategy was based on the work subsequently published as Understanding Lone Actor Terrorism: Past Experience, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies (Routledge, 2016). Among Michael Fredholm’s other published works is The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Eurasian Geopolitics: New Directions, Perspectives, and Challenges (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2013). Michael Fredholm also delivered a keynote speech at the European Intelligence & Security Informatics Conference (EISIC) 2013.

Educated at Uppsala, Stockholm, and Lund Universities, Michael Fredholm taught at Stockholm University (South and Central Asia Program), Uppsala University (Orientalist Program), the Swedish Royal Military Academy and Defence University (various courses), and at a special educational and advisory program on East Asia for the Commander-in-Chief. He also lectured, during conferences or as visiting professor, at numerous institutions and universities in cities around the world includingAnkara, Bishkek, Greifswald, Istanbul, Karlskrona, Kolkata, Krynica, Leuven, Madrid, New Delhi, Oslo, Shanghai, Srinagar, Stockholm, Tashkent, The Hague, Tsukuba, Uppsala, Vienna, Vilnius, and Warsaw. In addition, he has taught at the NATO Centre of Excellence-Defence against Terrorism (COE-DAT) academy in Ankara, Turkey.



Dr. Giliam de Valk initiated, coordinated, and lectured at different academies a minor intelligence studies. Dr. G.G. (Giliam) de Valk (1961) studied at the Law Faculty of Leiden University. He wrote his dissertation (2005) at the Law Faculty of University of Groningen on the quality of intelligence analyses: Valk, Giliam de, Dutch Intelligence: Towards a Qualitative Framework for Analysis. Den Haag: Boom juridisch, 2005. Since 2016 he is assistant professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of the Leiden University. He lectures and researches on intelligence, analysis and methodology. After his dissertation he started to work as a lecturer at the Department for Political Science (2006-2008) and at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (2007- 2016) of the University of Amsterdam. At this Institute, he was the initiator and coordinator of the Minor Intelligence Studies (2007-2016). In 2012, he transformed this Bachelor Minor Intelligence Studies into a center: the Ad de Jonge Center for Intelligence and Security Studies. In 2016, he and his team transferred to the ISGA (see above).From 2006-2011, he was a lecturer for the History of International Relations Section at the University of Utrecht. He taught on issues as intelligence studies, strategy (Von Clausewitz), humanitarian intervention, counterinsurgency, terrorism and counter-terrorism. 

  • 2006 onwards, he participates as a guest lecturer in the analyst education of the Defense Intelligence and Security Institute (DISI). 
  • 2010-2012, he was employed at the Netherlands Defense Academy in Breda, at Faculty of Military Sciences, where he had put up and coordinated a Bachelor Minor Intelligence Studies.
  • 2004-2012, he was the secretary of the Netherlands Intelligence Security Association, of which he is still a board member. 
  • 2006-2012, he was a member of the Archive Committee of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
  • Since 2009, he participates in the Dutch Counterinsurgency Network.
  • Since 2012, he is a member of the Dutch Think Tank Integral Security.
  • De Valk participates for many years in Red Team exercises concerning vital infrastructure and corporate business.



Dr. David Gioe (Lieutenant Commander, US Navy Reserve) is an internationally recognized academic scholar of intelligence and a veteran professional practitioner of the craft. He is experienced in civilian, military, corporate and law enforcement intelligence with expertise in intelligence analysis and overseas operations. After a decade of public service as an intelligence officer, he became a leading intellectual with several conference presentations, media engagements and publications on intelligence and national security issues. PhD from UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Politics & International Studies, 2014. Assistant Professor of History and History Fellow, Army Cyber Institute (2014 – Present) at United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

US Department of Defense, US Africa Command, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (with regional travel incl. Kenya and Somalia), Oct 2015 – Sep 2016 Director for Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence (J2X). Responsible to Commanding General and Director for Intelligence for the CJTF-HOA Area of Operations, including 10 African countries, incl. liaison with multinational forces as well as US Embassy Country Teams and Combatant Command. Led and managed all facets of a 44-member team comprised of all military branches, senior Defense Intelligence Agency civilians and contractors.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Langley, VA, Clandestine Service Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations / NCS (N/A-2011) Served several multi-lingual operational tours undercover, working in over a dozen countries in the Middle East and in Western/Central Europe. Ran secure and productive human intelligence operations, collected and reported timely, high-impact, and policy-relevant intelligence. Experienced in Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, and Covert Action.



Dr. Jelle Janssens (1981) is an assistant professor at the Department of Criminology, Penal Law and Social Law of  the Faculty of Law (Ghent University) and a member of the Institute of International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP). He  holds a Master’s Degree in Criminology (Ghent University, 2005) and in Public Management (Ghent University, 2006). He received his Ph.D. in Criminology from Ghent University in March 2013. The research focused on plural policing and international police missions in transitional societies through a case study of Kosovo. His research interests focus on policing in post-conflict environments, criminology of war, (international) criminal policy and law enforcement violent extremism and organised crime.



Iztok Podbregar (Ph.D) is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Maribor and Dean. His major interests concern crisis management, critical infrastructure and human resource management. He teaches at undergraduate, master and doctoral level. He is author of several monographs, books, scientific articles published in Slovenia and abroad.




Polona Šprajc (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of  Maribor in the Department of Personnel and Vice dean for educational activity. Her major research interests concern human resource management, marketing and business ethics. She teaches on undergraduate and masterlevel. She is author of chapters in books and articles in scientific and professional journals, published in Slovenia and abroad.




ir. Yvan De Mesmaeker Secretary general of the European Corporate Security Association – ECSA, Yvan De Mesmaeker is a Civil Engineer with over 25 years of professional experience in Corporate Security and Resilience. The European Corporate Security Association - ECSA, a non for profit Professional Association of Managers and Officials in charge of the Security & Resilience of Corporations and International Institutions.



Dr. Adrian Hänni is a writer, public speaker, and educator who is passionate about shedding light on contemporary geopolitical issues and contributing solutions to current challenges. Dr. Hänni combines his multidisciplinary expertise in terrorism, propaganda and intelligence history with a global perspective at the intersection of History, Political Science, and Economics. He has been interviewed by various international media outlets, including CBS 60 Minutes (USA), SRF (Switzerland), Stern (Germany), Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland), Le Point (France), Le Temps (Switzerland), and SWR (Germany).

Board memberships:

  • International Advisory Board of Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base, published by the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of Mediterranean and Balkan Intelligence, published by the Research Institute for European and American Studies
  • Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS)
  • Critical Studies on Terrorism Working Group (CSTWG) of the British International Studies Association (BISA)
  • Swissint: Association of Swiss Intelligence Officers



Dr. Gordan Akrap, Hybrid Warfare Research Institute, Croatia

Born 1966, graduated at Zagreb Faculty of electronics and computing in 1994. In 2011 he received a PhD at the University of Zagreb, in the field of Information and Communication sciences. The title of his PhD was “Informational strategies and operations in public knowledge shaping”. He had an active role in Homeland war. During his career in diplomatic and security structures of Croatia he completed a number of professional courses, including Diplomatic Academy. He is active in research of national and regional security, intelligence and history of Homeland War. He published a number of books, and papers in journals and proceedings.



Professor Michael S. Goodman, FRHistS, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, England, a Professor in Intelligence & International Affairs in the Department of War Studies and Visiting Research Professor at the Norwegian Defence Intelligence School, Oslo, currently on secondment to the Cabinet Office where he is a Official Historian of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Works:

  • 2017- Pro-Dean for Innovation and Impact, Faculty of Social Science an Public Policy, King’s College London.
  • 2016- Visiting Professor, Sciences Po, Paris
  • 2015- Series Editor, ‘Intelligence, Surveillance, and Secret Warfare’, Edinburgh University Press 
  • 2015- Editorial Board Member, The International Journal of Intelligence, Security and Public Affairs
  • 2015- Visiting Professor, Norwegian Defence Intelligence School.
  • 2015- Professor in Intelligence and International Affairs, Dept. of War Studies, KCL
  • 2014-5 Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • 2013- Editorial Board Member, Journal of Intelligence History
  • 2013-15 Reader in Intelligence and International Affairs, Dept. of War Studies, KCL
  • 2012- Member, ESRC Peer Review College
  • 2011- Co-Convenor, AHRC ‘Lessons Learned’ Project
  • 2011- Member of the International Advisory Forum, Italian Institute of Strategic Studies “Niccolò Machiavelli”.
  • 2011- Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
  • 2011- Editorial Board Member, Inteligencia y Seguridad: Revista de Analisis y Prospectiva [‘Intelligence and Security: Journal of Analysis and Prospective’]
  • 2010- Editorial Board Member, Intelligence and National Security
  • 2010-13 AHRC/ESRC Policy Placement Fellow
  • 2009- Series Editor, ‘Intelligence and Security Studies’, Hurst/Columbia University Press.
  • 2008-13 Senior Lecturer, Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
  • 2008- Elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • 2007- Official Historian of the Joint Intelligence Committee
  • 2007- Secretary, Study Group on Intelligence
  • 2006-9 Consultant, Special Forces Club Historical Sub-Committee
  • 2006- Director, King’s Intelligence Studies Programme (with the Cabinet Office)
  • 2005-8 Tutor, Royal College for Defence Studies
  • 2005-2006 Committee Member, British International History Group
  • 2005-10 Academic Advisory Board, AHRB Nuclear History Project, Mountbatten Centre for International Studies, University of Southampton.
  • 2005- Editorial Board Member, Contemporary British History
  • 2004-7 Reviews Editor, Journal of Strategic Studies
  • 2004-8 Lecturer, Department of War Studies, King’s College London.




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