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Alum travels to Hungary as finalist in global public-policy challenge

August 15, 2013

Eugene Kobiako (’12 BA, IS, European Studies/BS, Biology) was at first reluctant to apply for a $10,000 scholarship and the chance to travel to Hungary to compete with students from around the globe. “We tend to doubt ourselves a little bit as undergrads,” he said.

But his hard work leading up to the fall 2012 deadline to submit a policy memo about “Digital Freedom and its Limits” paid off when he was selected as one of 38 finalists out of 2,000 applicants who received an expenses-paid trip to Budapest, Hungary, from June 17-21.

The GlobalEugene Kobiako presentation Debate and Public Policy Challenge awards up to five $10,000 scholarships each year to students from countries around the world. The money may be used for graduate study or as a stipend to work one year at a nonprofit institution in a field related to public policy.

Undergraduates across continents and academic disciplines explore issues of global importance from different points of view and attend workshops to hone their debating and advocacy skills.

Although he did not win the scholarship, Kobiako was honored to have the experience of traveling to Hungary and sharing ideas with other globally minded people. “Who knows – 20 years down the road all 38 finalists could be leaders in their countries,” he said.

Finalists participated in workshops teaching them how to structure a presentation as well as how to network effectively. Kobiako plans to apply what he learned toward his future aspirations in diplomacy. Toward that goal, he is working as Assistant to the Consul at the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle. He is also applying to graduate schools for fall 2014.

Eugene Kobiako gives his presentationKobiako was one of five finalists from the United States and the only one from the West Coast. He was especially interested in Hungary as his emphasis at the Jackson School was Central and Eastern Europe and he spent a weekend exploring Hungary while studying abroad in Denmark. He said the time he invested in learning about the theme and writing his policy memo was relevant to current events, specifically, the use of social media in Turkey and Egypt during protests in those countries.

Kobiako encouraged Jackson School students to submit a policy memo for this year’s challenge on “International Drug Policy.” Undergraduates and recent graduates have until Oct. 30 to submit their policy memos.