Fried Headed to Montenegro for Election Week Discussions

University of Maine political science professor Amy Fried has been invited by the U.S. Department of State for a weeklong visit to the Republic of Montenegro Nov. 4–10 to assess and discuss the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential election.

Fried will visit the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Podgorica as a part of the embassy’s efforts to assist the recently democratized country, she says. She will also visit and speak in Pljevlja, a city in the northern part of the country. The U.S. Embassy in Montenegro is organizing and covering the cost of the trip.

Montenegro, with a population of 650,000, is one of the world’s youngest countries after severing ties with Serbia in 2006 and adopting its constitution in 2007, according to Fried.

“The United States is trying to support and build its relationship with Montenegro, as it continues to transition and develop,” Fried says. Toward that end, Fried was invited to Montenegro for a five-day speaking tour to discuss with university students in Podgorica, political pollsters in the country and others about how the American election systems work. Fried is a nationally recognized authority on politics, polling and women in politics.

The U.S. Embassy selected Fried “because her concentration on women in politics fits perfectly with the U.S. Embassy’s goal to encourage Montenegrin women to be more engaged in the political process and to run for public office,” says Shelly Seaver, public affairs officer at the embassy.

During the week’s events, Fried hopes to schedule a Skype session between students at the University of Montenegro and her UMaine class on American Public Opinion. Plans are for UMaine political science professor James Warhola and Andrei Strukov, an instructional technology development specialist, to moderate the class discussions from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 7 on the Orono campus.

Fried was recommended for the visit by the U.S. Embassy at the suggestion of Dan Sandweiss, UMaine’s dean and associate provost for graduate studies. Sandweiss and James Beaupré, the university’s innovation engineer, traveled to Montenegro in early October under U.S. Embassy sponsorship to provide an introduction to the university’s Innovation Engineering program and to build inter-institutional collaboration. UMaine has received undergraduates from Montenegro and hopes to receive graduate students soon, Sandweiss says.

In 2009, Sandweiss, UMaine Vice President for Development Eric Rolfson and an economist from the Maine International Trade Center visited Montenegro in a Maine National Guard-sponsored visit. School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA) Director Mario Teisl visited Montenegro in 2009, and SPIA Associate Director James Settele visited on behalf of the university in 2011.

“Maine and Montenegro share many characteristics,” says Sandweiss. “Both have economies featuring tourism, forest products, and marine resources. Collaboration between us makes sense for both.”

The state of Maine and Montenegro also have a relationship that includes a 2006 partnership between the Maine National Guard and Montenegro’s all-volunteer military force, part of a U.S. National Guard Bureau bilateral defense relationship initiative.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756