Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Elisabeth Prugl

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

Third Advisor's Name

Ralph Clem

Date of Defense



This thesis examines how multilateral institutions can contribute to democratization and regional stability. It is a case study of the Central European Initiative (CEI), a regional intergovernmental organization founded by Italy and Austria in 1989 to undertake a regional integration process, and of its role in stabilizing post-communist democracies. Documents were collected at the CEI offices in Trieste, Italy, and interviews conducted with CEI officers, and data obtained from the websites of related organizations and of CEI member countries.

The thesis probes the relevance of concepts derived from theories of international regimes and social constructivism. It shows that the CEI diffuses norms and institutional rules conducive to consolidating democracies, including the development of a free civil society, a relatively autonomous political society, rule of law, state bureaucracies that are usable by the new democratic governments, and functioning free market economies, addition, and fosters habits of dialogue, socializes participants, and supports the creation of supra-national identities.





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