Assya Varbanova: “Go Beyond Bounds and Frameworks”

Five years after graduating AUBG, Asya Varbanova has settled firmly in the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) as a Head of Office for Macedonia. The fund is devoted to anti-discrimination and engages in the management of programs in this field in the Balkan region and non-EU countries. Asya’s work involves support for governments, municipalities and non-governmental structures in their set up of financial and technical policies against discrimination through introducing new moral frameworks of norms and strategic plans.

Asya majored in Business Administration and Political Science and International Relations, and the qualities she developed at AUBG are qualities she now applies in every sphere of her life. “I benefited from AUBG through acquiring common knowledge, management skills and abilities as a coordinator of projects. Before coming to AUBG I thought I only needed some foundation and knowledge. Then I realized, this isn’t the most important. What is essential is to have an open-minded way of thinking, not a theoretical one which we rarely apply. In this way you are able to see different points of view and to look at things in perspective. This helps us to go beyond boundaries and frameworks.”

What she appreciated the most at AUBG were the discussions in class, and not what she read in her books. Given the fact that her job requires lots of travelling, she is thankful that the University gave her an opportunity to establish long-term contacts with the students. The problems she deals with every day at her job are global and have no country boundaries. Although the issues look similar, the process of solving them draws on experience and ideas from all over the world. Each one requires adapting to the specific society. Her experience in getting to know various cultures, obtained at AUBG, helps her in the projects she works on.

With such challenging work she has only been able to return to the University  once since her graduation – the Alumni Reunion, September 2008. Asya keeps sweet and dear memories of AUBG, mostly of her best friends with whom she is still in touch. She advises the present students of the university to, “Make contacts with people from various cultures that have different ways of perceiving the world. That is something special AUBG can offer. Take advantage of the opportunity.”


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