GEM PhD School

Globalisation, Europe & Multilateralism

Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate

Katarina Brkovic (nee Kuzmic)

Katarina Brkovic (nee Kuzmic)


My name is Katarina Brkovic and I am a PhD scholar at the European Commission’s Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate programme “Globalization, the EU and Multilateralism” - the GEM PhD School with the University of Warwick (United Kingdom) as my main institution and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) as my second institution. My doctoral research is in the field of international security and development studies focused on the concept of positive securitisation and its applicability in the alleviation of extreme poverty.

Doctoral research title: An Assessment of Possibilities for the Use of Positive Securitization in the Alleviation of Extreme Poverty: Least Developed Countries as Positive Securitizing Actors and the United Nations as Global Positive Functional Actor

Academic Degrees

Regarding my academic background, I finished a bachelor studies in International Relations at the University of Belgrade - Faculty of Political Sciences (Serbia) in 2010, when I defended my BA thesis titled: "A Life Worthy of the Reward - Women Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (1905 - 2004)", under the supervision of Professor Radmila Nakarada. Being drawn to the peace studies literature I finished MA studies in International Relations (Peace Studies module) at the same faculty in 2013, when I defended my thesis titled: “Global Peace Perspectives in the XXI Century: Positive Securitization of Global Threats”, under the supervision of Professor Nakarada.

During my BA and MA I broaden my knowledge about emerging global developmental problems which influenced the raise of the new approaches to international security. At the same time, I continued to build my practical experience via NGO work and participation in many national and international conferences focused on finding solutions to existing global problems. In addition, I became one of the founders of the first Centre for Development Studies in the Balkans, whose main purpose is to spread and practically implement developmental knowledge. Furthermore, I got engaged in the work of the following UK organizations: the People and the Planet, Oxfam Outreach and Warwick Fair Trade Society, which deepened my commitment to interdisciplinary work on alleviation of extreme poverty.

Work Experience

Membership and work experience


• Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme on "Globalisation, the European Union and Multilateralism" - GEM PhD School // CITRINE – researcher;

• Recherche et Enseignement en Politique Internationale, Université libre de Bruxelles – REPI ULB – researcher;

• Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) at the Faculty of Political Sciences (Belgrade, Serbia)  - alumni member -  January 2013 – present;

• NGO Balkan Centre for Development Studies (Belgrade, Serbia) - one of the founders, a member of the General Board and the project manager - December 2010 - present;

• Warwick Fair Trade Society (Coventry, United Kingdom) - associate member - March - May 2012;

• Oxfam Outreach (Coventry, United Kingdom) - associate member - February - June 2012;

• People And Planet (Coventry, United Kingdom) - associate member - January 2012 - June 2012;

Specific Research Title, Area and Promotor(s)

Doctoral research title:

An Assessment of Possibilities for the Use of Positive Securitization in the Alleviation of Extreme Poverty: Least Developed Countries as Positive Securitizing Actors and the United Nations as Global Positive Functional Actor


Key words:

Positive securitisation, extreme poverty, United Nations, Least developed countries



University of Warwick: Professor Vicki Squire

Université Libre de Bruxelles: Professor Barbara Delcourt

Description of research work


            During the last two decades, within the security studies literature, there has been growing interest in the concept of securitization, starting with the Copenhagen School and advancing with the Paris and Aberystwyth schools of security studies. Security scholars often determine concept of securitization in a negative way, as a tool of manipulation used by an influential elite-person(s) who marks a particular issue as an existential threat to a referent object and uses his authority to create a public acceptance for the introduction of special measures, usually of military nature, to tackle it.

            Conceptualised in this way, these analyses disregarded the potential positive mobilising and enabling power which this concept has in wider identification of global threats, raising awareness about consequences of these threats and in placing them on the level of high politics in order to find more effective and/or novel solutions. Therefore, in the last couple of years, literature on securitization has been enhanced by new approaches, which put forward the positive usage of the concept of securitization. However, even though its practical applicability was, to a certain extent, recognised by the contemporary debate, the theoretical and analytical framework of positive securitization is still underexplored and undeveloped.

            This is why my doctoral research is focused on extending the concept of securitisation in the new direction by developing the theoretical and analytical framework of the concept of positive securitization in a specific context of tackling the issue of extreme poverty. I am analysing how, under which conditions, and with what potential effects can positive securitization be utilized as a tool to address the issue of extreme poverty. Moreover, I am analysing if the positive securitisation has already been used, how and if not, what were the obstacles. In the end, I am conducting an original theoretical testing by analysing the role of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) as securitising actors and the UN as functional actor of positive securitization.

Participation in Conferences and Seminars

• 2013, November 14th, Birmingham (UK), Ethics and Security: An Emerging Research Agenda (workshop), organised by School of Government and Society/Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security, The University of Birmingham; 

• 2013, October 31st – November 1st, Coventry (UK), Warwick Graduate Conference in Security Studies 2013 - ‘Security and the Everyday’, organized by the University of Warwick, Politics and International Studies Department;

• 2013, October 5th, London (UK), Fairtrade Supporter Conference 2013, organized by the Fairtrade Foundation (UK);


• 2012, October 22nd, Brussels (Belgium), How EU Foreign Policy Really Works, organized by the GEM Central Executive Office and the Institute for European Studies (ULB, Brussels, Belgium);

• 2012, September 13th, Belgrade (Serbia), Fairtrade as a Way of Preventing Human Trafficking, organized by the Serbian Ministry of Interior, the American Corner and the Balkan Centre for Development Studies (Serbia);

• 2012, September 12th, Belgrade (Serbia), Social Dimensions of Human Trafficking in the Western Balkans, organized by the German International Cooperation (GIZ), the German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD (Germany) and the Serbian Ministry of Interior, the University of Belgrade and the Faculty of Law (Serbia);

• 2012, February 4th, London (United Kingdom), Traidcraft Spring Roadshow and Campaigns Workshop, organized by the Traidcraft (London, United Kingdom);

• 2011, October 18th, London (United Kingdom), Food Sovereignty Day, organized by the War on Want (UK);

• 2011, October 15th, Birmingham (United Kingdom), Fairtrade Supporter Conference, organized by the Fairtrade Foundation (UK);


• 2010, September, Belgrade (Serbia), Transcend Themes Around the World: The Mediation Workshop, with Johan Galtung, one of the founders of the Peace Studies, organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Centre for Peace Studies at the Faculty of Political Sciences (Belgrade, Serbia);

• 2010, April, Cambridge (United Kingdom), The Causes of the Outbreak of the World War I, organized by the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, United Kingdom);

Overview of Publications

• Author :

o Kuzmic, K., 2012. Fairtrade in Global Peace Complex [conference paper]. Fairtrade: strengths, weaknesses and future prospects. Warwick Fair Trade Society: Coventry, United Kingdom.

o Kuzmic, K., 2011. Nobel Peace Prize - Return to the Human Values from the Perspectives of the Women Laureates. Logos - student’s newsletter of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Belgrade. University of Belgrade - Faculty of Orthodox Theology: Belgrade, Serbia.