2005 Graduate & Oxford Doctoral Candidate Cvete Koneska Returns to AUBG Classroom as Professor
Not too long ago Cvete Koneska debated European politics in class under the guidance of her AUBG faculty. Today, she is the one doing the guiding. In spring 2011, Koneska returned to her alma mater to teach in the Universitys Political Science and European Studies department.
In addition to teaching at her alma mater, Koneska is working on a doctoral dissertation in political science at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Prior to that, she received a masters degree in politics, security and integration from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London (UCL).
Despite her impressive scholarly career, Koneska admits that teaching at AUBG was a big test for her. Not only is this a first teaching job for the 2005 graduate but she also felt that teaching at her alma mater would require an especial effort as she owes the place so much.
Teaching the classes I used to take is particularly challenging. But also fun. I try to be as good as my professors were, but that is difficult because in my memories they always knew more than me and had an answer to every question, Koneska says.
The AUBG alumna lists opportunities and self-confidence as the two top things the University gave her. Before AUBG I had never dreamed of an academic career or a doctorate in Oxford, but four years at AUBG made me realize that many things were possible, if you try and work hard for them. I think the combination of encouragement and support from the faculty and the competitiveness among students results in confidence for such achievements.
AUBG has also taught me that it is important to give back. Which is why I am here this semester, to give back to the community that has helped me get where I am now.
Coming back to AUBG was a true homecoming for Koneska. Her former professors in the political science and European studies department offered guidance, support, and friendship, making the experience truly amazing, she says.
Moreover, teaching AUBG students is rewarding; their questions and viewpoints are very stimulating, Koneska says.
Despite the demands that teaching places on her time, Koneska is working hard toward completing her PhD thesis. Titled Between Past Conflict and European Future: Domestic Politics in Post-Conflict States, it examines the evolution of the political situation in her home country Macedonia and nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Koneska with fellow 2005 graduate and presidential medalist Alban Pruthi
It is a full schedule in the days I dont teach or prepare lectures, I do work on my thesis, she says.
Although Koneska grew up in the family of political scientists, and the policy world and decision-makers are subjects that have always interested the young scholar, an academic career was not what she had in mind when she came to AUBG in 2001. Her politics professors at the University inspired and challenged her, which is why she signed up for the political science and international relations major. European studies became her second major under the influence of Professor Cosmina Tanasoiu and the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, a process which dominated SEE politics at the time. She even completed a senior thesis in European studies, investigating public discourse on Europe in Bulgaria.
Her next move is hardly surprising: she enrolled in a masters program in one of the worlds top-ranked institutions, UCL, followed by admission to another educational giant Oxford University.
Having specialized in European politics, she now teaches a comparative politics of Europe course at AUBG.
It is rewarding to teach the students the basic concepts and issues of European politics and help them overcome the same challenges that I faced and struggled with almost ten years ago, Koneska says, adding: I hope they find what they learn inspiring and useful, and perhaps some of them will go on to practice and research European politics in future, and maybe even come back to AUBG to teach.
Photos by Denitsa Gospodinova