Davor Kunc (AIPES 02, IIPES 04, ICPES 05) believes that TFAS alumni are extraordinary people who are going to make the world a better place. In addition, he considers alumni as the best vehicle to spread the word about The Fund. These observations have led Kunc to create one of the largest and most involved alumni chapters to date in Croatia called HAKFAS.
Kunc is no stranger to alumni word-of-mouth. He first heard about TFAS’s American Institute on Political and Economic Systems (AIPES) program in Prague from his friend Petar Thür who attended AIPES in 1999.
“The word about TFAS is mainly spread through Croatian alumni who are becoming young leaders in business, politics, academia or civil society,” said Kunc. “Even after Petar mentioned it to me for the first time, I still kept hearing about TFAS; it was the ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising of the 10,000 strong TFAS global alumni network from 85 countries.”
Kunc grew up in Zagreb, Croatia, and says his main motivation in attending multiple TFAS institutes was “the first class education, top professors…and an opportunity to socialize with successful, smart and interesting young people.”
After his experience in Prague in 2002, Kunc decided to further his education with TFAS by attending IIPES in Greece in 2004, followed by a third program, the Engalitcheff Institute, in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2005.
It was in Washington that Kunc learned the essentials of radio and television production at his Croatian Service of Voice of America internship. This internship allowed Kunc to take part in producing and writing while also meeting such prominent figures as the Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and attending a lecture held by Croatian Foreign Minister Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who has recently been appointed as the new Croatian Ambassador to the U.S.
“Thanks to my colleagues at the Voice of America, I learned a big part of international radio and television broadcasting skills, which were very useful when I accepted a position as the Corporate Communications Project Manager at the Atlantic Group in Zagreb,” said Kunc.
Kunc returned to Croatia in 2005 to begin his career at the Atlantic Group, a fast growing Croatian multinational company. During the same year, Kunc co-founded the Croatian Alumni Club of The Fund for American Studies (HAKFAS) which later received the TFAS Chapter of the Year Award in 2007.
The Fund for American Studies assembles exceptional individuals of the highest capacity. I participated in three intense academic and cross-cultural in which we collaborated, shared experiences and helped each other to grow as persons,” said Kunc.
According to Kunc, these elements were his motivation in creating the Croatian alumni club. HAKFAS is a place where Croatian alumni can continue personal development while networking with one another and spread the word about TFAS to other students.
“HAKFAS promotes TFAS and its values of freedom, democracy and free-market economy,” explains Kunc. In addition, HAKFAS strives “to advance Croatia and other countries in Central Europe and the Mediterranean and turn them into active players on the international scene.”
The most prominent project HAKFAS has taken on is the annual international conference, organized by alumni for alumni. HAKFAS chooses 50 young TFAS alumni from 26 countries of Central Europe and the Mediterranean from different sectors (business, government, academia, nonprofit) who have demonstrated a record of professional achievement and who are eager to share experience and ideas.
“By encouraging continuing education, personal development and interpersonal cooperation, HAKFAS encourages citizen engagement,” said Kunc. It is this citizen engagement that Kunc hopes will foster active engagement in government affairs, leading to a better country all around.
For more information on HAKFAS, please CLICK HERE to visit their website.
Kunc is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, and is currently studying for his master’s in international relations at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), concentrating in European Studies and International Economics in Washington, D.C. He is also an intern at the Trade and Agriculture Section of the Delegation of the European Commission.
Davor is a member of the Croatian-American Society, Croatian Public Relations Association, Foreign Policy Association, and the United Nations Association of the USA. He speaks fluent Croatian, English, German and Italian, as well as passive French and Russian.