Alumni Interview #1: Marko Comic

Impressions and thoughts from SPS alumni on their experiences with the Schools of Political Studies

Marko Comic (Serbia)

Marko Comic September 2017 Small1) Which SPS did you attend and in which year did you graduate?

I was a member of the Belgrade school which is run by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence. I was in the generation 2015/16. I must say we had a chance to listen to and engage in dialogue with some fantastic people from the Balkan region. The organisation of the meetings was also very professional, as were the people from the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence.

2) How did you first hear about the Schools of Political Studies and what persuaded you to apply?

I heard about the program from the alumni that are members of my political party. Every single one of them praised the School, which made me want to apply. They all said that we would have the chance to meet amazing people and to discuss different topics with experts coming from different branches. All of the above turned out to be true.

3) What was your most memorable experience during the training cycle?

The most memorable aspect was the people. I had the chance to meet members of political parties in Serbia, people from the media and the NGO sector, who together formed a special group that functioned very well. The exchange of knowledge and experience was also very valuable. As you can always learn from other people – if you listen carefully – I also believe that all of us who attended the School learned to listen better, and in politics this is one of the most important things.

4) Did you come to the World Forum for Democracy? If so, what were your impressions?

I attended the World Forum for Democracy last year. The side events that were organised were fantastic, as were the bilateral meetings between Schools. The World Forum for Democracy is a unique place where you can meet people that share the same democratic values as you do, meaning, in my opinion: rule of law, human rights, solidarity, equality and freedom. The Forum is a place that makes an impact on you; it encourages you to stay on track and keep fighting and shows you that there are a lot of people around the globe who are not giving up.

5) If you could give one piece of advice for those about to start the new training cycle what would it be?

One piece of advice from me would be: connect with people. As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world, indeed that's the only thing that ever has.” Do your networking, and meet thoughtful and committed citizens – and change the world. Trust me, you can find them during your time with the SPS.

6) What are you up to nowadays?

I have been awarded the Chevening Scholarship by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and will be leaving Serbia in September for a year of study in the UK at the University of Birmingham. I am proud to say that the knowledge I gained through SPS motivated me to apply and to leave Serbia, to be able to come back here in a year and start making some changes thanks to the new knowledge I will gain and with new people I will meet.