BAKU, Azerbaijan (May 08, 2019) - The Alumni Programs at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in conjunction with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Baku, conducted an Outreach Networking Event on "Reflecting Past, Present and Future Political and Security-Related Dynamics in and around Europe" here May 8."The event is part of a continuing program to encourage Azerbaijan alumni to enhance their participation in Marshall Center programs, to discuss important security issues and to encourage the alumni security community network to grow and flourish," said Chris Burelli, director of Marshall Center's Alumni Programs.Twenty participants from multiple ministries in Azerbaijan took part in the conference, with opening remarks given by U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Norris, chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Baku. Conference speaker was Dr. Sebastian von Münchow, Marshall Center professor."The European Union is able to survive its challenges, which include: financial stresses, violent border changes, Chinese influence in its economy, resurgent autocracy in Turkey, polarization of political influences in the E.U. parliament, and other threats to democratic institutions," von Münchow said.Alumni asked if Europe was going to try to expand its borders.Von Münchow responded that, "It is unclear if Europe should continue to expand its membership. On the one hand, should Europe do so in order to attempt to keep bordering nations out of the malign influences of larger powers, such as the Russian Federation? Or should Europe seek to gain new members for its own benefit exclusively? Do the corrupt leaders of EU-aspirant nations truly wish to abide by E.U. judicial norms in order to gain entry, and possibly be subject to prosecution at a later date by 'E.U. enlightened' judges?"Burelli said that this event helped to increase awareness and understanding of how the U.S., Europe and Azerbaijan can cooperate to counter threats to democratic institutions."The ONE events are a way for us to show our continued support and helps to strengthen the alumni network as an integral part of the alumni program and mission of the Marshall Center," Burelli said. "During these events, we are also able to update our alumni on new initiatives at the Marshall Center and future opportunities for alumni to participate in our programs."