Luka Ignac is a master’s student in the German and European Studies program and this year’s recipient of the Bepina Sabalic Kunin Endowed Scholarship. Mrs. Kunin’s wish was that the recipients of this scholarship devote some of their post-graduate careers to Croatia and ultimately use their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of Croatian citizens, by strengthening universities, schools, businesses, organizations, or governmental bodies. The interview below has been lightly edited for clarity.
What is your research focus?
My research focus is on transatlantic security cooperation. I am specifically interested in understanding how to reconcile European strategic autonomy with commitment to NATO.
How did you learn about the Kunin Scholarship?
I found out about the Kunin Scholarship when I was still in high school in Croatia. I was watching the news when a former scholarship recipient was being interviewed about his experience studying in the U.S. I remember telling myself that I have to remember the name of this scholarship until I am applying for graduate school. Thankfully, I have a good memory.
What made you decide to apply?
The main motivation to apply for the Kunin Scholarship was to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Georgetown in order to figure out how I can best contribute to improving the lives of Croatian citizens. I knew that through obtaining a Master of Arts in German and European Studies, I will be able to further familiarize myself with the EU, better understand how to navigate complex multinational policy arena, and most importantly gain skills on how to apply theory in order to tackle challenges ahead of both Croatia and the EU.
How do you hope the Kunin Scholarship will positively impact your studies or future career?
I hope that through the Kunin Scholarship, I will be able to contribute to making Croatia a positive story of European integration. I am confident that through the experiences and knowledge I will obtain at Georgetown, I will be able to identify the best ways in which I can contribute to Croatia. I can already say that in my first semester as the Kunin recipient, I was able to study abroad at the Hertie School in Berlin and interact with German foreign policy practitioners
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to prospective applicants?
When applying for this scholarship, make sure to think about, as President Kennedy said, what you can do for your country. This scholarship provides countless opportunities and having a clear vision on how those opportunities can be used to improve the lives of Croatian citizens is a key to a strong application.