CEU alumna Natalia Szczucka (SOCI PhD ’06) works as Head of the European Commission’s Regional Representation in Wrocław, Poland. Previously she served as Director for Organizational Development at Amnesty International’s European Office in Brussels, as well as for the Office of the High Representative in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.
On June 23, she Natalia congratulated CEU’s Class of 2018 as Alumni Speaker at this year’s Graduation ceremony.
What should people know about you?
I’m an activist, that’s the main thing.
As this year’s alumni speaker, what’s the one thing you feel grads should know?
If you really believe in something and you work hard you will make it happen. That’s been my experience.
What influence did CEU have on your career?
CEU was the first place I studied where I received not only theoretical education but was also exposed to how things worked practically. My activism started with my CEU studies, more or less.
What’s the most exciting / relevant thing about your work?
I work towards sustaining peace and wellbeing in Europe. To make people realize that without engagement and ownership the EU won’t work is very important. We’ve had peace in the EU for 70 years. We’re in good shape. We have good quality of life, safety. But we must work for it every day.
What would you tell someone considering study here?
Coming from a post-communist central European country, the approach I experienced at CEU is a much freer, ‘international’ style. You can take part in the discussion, and your voice is important. CEU arms people with the individual capacity to think, to analyze what’s happening in the world today.
Any final thoughts?
I hope we can keep at least some part of CEU in central/eastern Europe. Keeping it here shows that diversity and the liberal worldview can still be pursued here. I hope it doesn’t become ‘West European University.’ Don’t leave us, CEU!