Daorsa Kamberi (‘22) to Pursue a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota

June 13, 2024 Dimana Doneva
Daorsa Kamberi (‘22) to Pursue a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota

Is it possible to secure a PhD position in Philosophy after completing only a minor in the subject? Daorsa Kamberi (‘22) proves that it is, as she has just been accepted into a PhD program in Philosophy at the prestigious University of Minnesota. The alumna, who majored in Political Science and International Relations at AUBG, discovered her passion for Philosophy after an intro course with Professor Diego Lucci. His teachings, alongside her dedication to the subject, and the support of the AUBG faculty, all played a decisive role in her acceptance into the PhD program. 

In this interview, Daorsa, who was born in Kosovo but moved to Albania at the age of nine, discusses the impact of the AUBG education, her MA degree from the Central European University (CEU), and her upcoming studies at the University of Minnesota. 

What has been your academic and career path after AUBG? 

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduating AUBG, and since the senior year was quite intense, I didn’t have time to think much. I saw an advertisement for a Global Studies MA with one semester at CEU in Vienna and one at Bard in New York and I applied on a whim. I got accepted with a full scholarship, so I decided to go with it. What I primarily gained from this Master’s program was the immensely growth-inducing experience of living in these two diametrically opposed cities. 

Vienna filled my days with serene calmness, while the days in New York were full of adrenaline. While studying in New York I also did an internship with Oxford Analytica, which gave me insights into one of the world’s biggest mysteries – what a consulting firm actually does. After I came back, I started an internship at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo for their Communications department. Now I have started yet another internship, this time back in New York at the UN headquarters for their Global Communications department. 

How has your experience at AUBG influenced your decision to pursue a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota?

Even though I was always vaguely interested in Philosophy, it wasn’t until I took my Intro to Philosophy class with Prof. Lucci that I realized just how passionate I was about it. His teachings fueled my desire to explore the true nature of knowledge, existence, and reality. His lessons, which always included the two sides of the issue, made me realize that nothing is ever black and white and asking the right questions with an open mind is the only way to get as close to the truth as our limited human perception allows. I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into a PhD in Philosophy having only a minor in it, but Prof. Lucci’s, Prof. Sardamov’s and Prof. Diaz’s recommendation letters and continuous guidance definitely helped a lot.

How has studying at AUBG shaped you personally and professionally? What were some of the highlights of your university years? 

I owe to AUBG one of the biggest growth spurts that ever happened to me. I try to describe AUBG to people I meet, but words fail to even remotely communicate the mystical bubble that is this university. In this secluded universe, I had the opportunity to explore who I truly am, to understand what I am passionate about and gain the confidence needed to take the next steps in life. I got better at thinking critically and on my feet, at interacting and solving problems – skills that have continued to serve me both personally and professionally. More Honors was a critical component of my experience at AUBG. In this fascinating union of weirdos whose brilliance and creativity was contagious, I understood the true importance of belonging to a community.

What role does the AUBG alumni network play in your life now that you are a graduate?

They are the only ones that truly get how profoundly transformative the years at AUBG are. Whenever I meet an alum, I feel like I am meeting some lost relatives that I haven’t seen in forever, but whom I can rely on for help and advice.

What was your experience studying and living in Blagoevgrad?

My first impression of Blago wasn’t the same as I left it with. Initially, I found it too small, and somewhat dull. But soon enough I found beauty in its tightness, in its calmness. I found it to be a perfect blank canvas for us to paint our experiences on, so we can simultaneously create our identities, without much external pressures, without the intervening noises of a big city.

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Considering the global nature of your education and your exposure to diverse viewpoints, how do you believe your time at AUBG has shaped your understanding of democracy and democratic values? 

At AUBG, democracy isn’t just a concept discussed in political science classes; it is an aspect of everyday life and learning. Engaging with a student body that spans diverse nationalities and backgrounds, I learned the true essence of democratic values. 

What advice would you give to a current AUBG student?

Don’t be afraid to explore. Don’t stick to one field, one major. Take as many classes that pique your interest. Mingle with people that you might not necessarily have a lot in common with at first glance – they can surprise you! Give a chance to others, but most importantly, to yourself. Have an open mind about how your future version could look like, stay curious and never stop asking questions. Most of all, enjoy this life-changing journey to the fullest.