Tena Prelec


Research Fellow

Tena Prelec (PhD, Sussex University, School of Law, Politics and Sociology) is a Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford. Her research focuses, broadly, on issues of good governance and anti-corruption, with a specific focus on how transnational kleptocracy is enabled by the global financial architecture. At present, she is conducting work on Russian foreign policy and illicit financial flows in collaboration with the University of Exeter, UK, while also looking into the specific form kleptocracy takes in South Eastern Europe as a Fellow of the Centre for Advanced Studies of the University of Rijeka, Croatia. She is also an established analyst on the Western Balkans, including as Region Head at Oxford Analytica, Research Associate at LSEE-Research on South Eastern Europe (London School of Economics and Political Science), and member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG). Other research interests include transnational authoritarianism, academic freedom, and the intersection between governance and geopolitics. She is part of the latest cohort of Marshall Memorial Fellows, the flagship leadership development programme of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. 

Tena Prelec


European Politics (School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, advanced undergraduate level), 2016-2017. Topics: elections and voting; deconstructing the nation state; participation and mobilization; political parties and party systems; governments and parliaments; the politics of welfare states; the politics of immigration; and foreign policy in Europe. Essay & exam marking.

Guest lecturer at: Harriman Institute, Columbia University (2019); University of Belgrade (2020). Topics: corruption, governance, EU enlargement, elections.

Non-formal education: about 40-50 trainings and workshops for the European Students’ Forum (AEGEE) and the European Youth Forum (YFJ), 2007-2011. Topics: European citizenship; European elections; working with multi-cultural teams; campaigning; management skills.

Regular speaker at policy and academic conferences, workshops, and summer schools.

Research summary


Extensive media experience (print, radio and TV). Media outlets include: Al Jazeera (UK & BiH), Alsat-M TV (North Macedonia), Balkan Insight, BBC (UK / Serbia), Berria (Basque country), Capital (Bulgaria), Diario de Noticias (Portugal), Dnevnik (Bulgaria), European Western Balkans, Financial Times (UK), Foreign Policy (USA), Gazeta Prawna (Poland), Huffington Post (Italy), Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italy), Monocle (UK), Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (Norway), Novi List (Croatia), Pravda (Slovakia), Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, The Hindu (India), Telegram (Croatia), The New York Times (USA), N1 TV (Croatia and Serbia), Shekulli (Albania), Večernji List (Croatia), Vijesti (BiH), Vijesti (Montenegro), Voice of America (USA).



Academic publications (selected):

Prelec, T. (2020), "The Vicious Circle of Corrosive Capital, Authoritarian Tendencies and State Capture in the Western Balkans", Journal of Regional Security, 15:2, pp. 167–198. UDK: 323(497):338, DOI: 10.5937/jrs15-25716

Prelec, T. (2020), “Foreign Direct Investment in the Balkans: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, in The Balkans: New, Old Instabilities. A European Region Looking for its Place in the World, ISPI – Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale. Milan: Ledizioni-LediPublishing. pp. 96-113

Prelec, T. and Bartlett, W. (2019), “UAE: Sultanism Meets Illiberal Democracy”, in The Western Balkans in the World: Linkages and Relations with Non-Western Countries, Florian Bieber and Nikolaos Tzifakis eds., Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.

Prelec, T. (2019), “The Serbian Diaspora’s Political Views”, in Migration in the Western Balkans: What do we know?, Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, ISBN: 978-0-367-42512-8

Prelec, T. (2019), “The Serbian Diaspora’s Political Views: A Study on the 2017 Serbian Presidential Election”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 21(1), pp. 74-89

Bartlett, W., Ker-Lindsay, J.; Alexander, K., Prelec, T. (2017), “The UAE as an Emerging Actor in the Western Balkans: The Case of Strategic Investment in Serbia”, Journal of Arabian Studies, 7(1), pp. 94-112

Prelec, T. (2015), "Measuring Corruption in Transition Countries: How to Go beyond Perceptions? A Review of Perception-Related Problems and of New Approaches", in Western Balkans Integrating the EU: Challenges, Policies, Issues, Xavier Richet and Srdjan Redzepagic eds., Paris: CEMAFI International, pp. 244-258


Prelec, T., "‘Our brothers’, ‘our saviours’: The importance of Chinese investment for the Serbian government’s narrative of economic rebound". (to be published in autumn 2020) - funded by the National Endowment for Democracy & the Prague Security Studies Institute

Cooley, A.; Heathershaw, J.; Prelec, T.; and Mayne, T. "The Price of a World-Class Education: Foreign Donations, Influence and Reputational Risk in the US and UK Universities" (to be published in autumn 2020). - funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and by DFID through the Global Integrity programme

Soares de Oliveira, R., and Prelec, T., "Enabling African loots: Tracking the laundering of Nigerian kleptocrats’ ill-gotten gains in the United Kingdom". (journal article to be published in 2021) - funded by DFID through the Global Integrity programme

Policy reports & commentary (selected):

Prelec, T. (2020), "Elite churn raises cautious reform hopes in Montenegro", Oxford Analytica, 12 October 2020. 

Prelec, T. (2020), “Croatia: Country Report”, Nations in Transit 2020: Dropping the Democratic Facade, Freedom House.

Furstenberg, S., Prelec, T. and Heathershaw, J. (2020), “The Internationalization of Universities and the Repression of Academic Freedom”, in Perspectives on “Everyday” Transnational Repression in an Age of Globalization, edited by Nate Schenkkan, Isabel Linzer, Saipira Furstenberg, and John Heathershaw, Freedom House.

Prelec, T. (2020), “Balkan emigration will go on without better governance”, Oxford Analytica, 22 July 2020.

Prelec, T. (2020), “Croatian elections 2020: The Green Wave reaches Croatia”, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Prague, 8 July 2020.

Prelec, T. (2020), “How to improve the EU’s credibility in the Western Balkans”, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG), 5 June 2020

Bieber, F., Prelec, T. et al. (2020), “The Western Balkans in Times of the Global Pandemic”, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, April 2020

Delević, M. and Prelec, T. (2020), “Flatter, faster, fairer – How to revive the political will necessary to make enlargement a success for the Western Balkans and the European Union”, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, January 2020

Prelec, T. (2019) “Caught in a vicious circle: How corrosive capital perpetuates state capture in the Western Balkans”, Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption, 5 November 2019

Delevic, M. and Prelec, T. (2019), “Flatter and faster: New Western Balkan pathways to the EU”, European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR), 24 October 2019 (with Milica Delević)

Prelec, T. (2019), “Doing Business in the Balkans, UAE Style”, in The Balkans: the West, the East and the Rest (policy dossier), ISPI – Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, Milan, April 2019

Marović, J.; Prelec, T., and Kmezic, M. (2019), “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Call for a Revolution against Particularism”, Policy Study, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, January 2019

Prelec, T. (2018), “Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue: Where the EU Went Wrong”, Balkan Insight, 28 November 2018

Prelec, T. (2018), “UAE in the Balkans: Meeting point between ‘sultanism’ and authoritarianism?”, European Western Balkans, 13 July 2018

Prelec, T. (2018), "The impact of Brexit on Scotland's growth sectors", Scottish Parliament, March 2018

Prelec, T. (2017), “When the UK sells spying tools to repressive states”, Al Jazeera English, 19 December 2017

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