Συνέντευξη με τον Dominik Matković, ασκούμενο στο Διεθνές Κέντρο Crowdfunding (ICFC)

To start conversation, please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Dominik Matković, and I am a graduate student of International Relations and Diplomacy at the Libertas International University. From a young age, I have been very curious and proactive, eager to acquire new knowledge and experiences, hardworking and reliable. I try to make the most of every moment, time, opportunity and potential that I have at my disposal in the best possible way. In my free time, I like to read and learn about various topics – from social to natural directions.

In 2012, I had a difficult period because I contracted a cyst on the pineal gland. After surgery in the spring of 2013, with recovery, I have continued my education with excellent success. This experience has hardened and strengthened me. I began to look at life differently. I have become a person who looks at everything in life positively and tries to get the best out of every situation because life is made of our experiences, ups and downs. I have become a fighter. I view every obstacle and problem as a challenge for myself, an opportunity for my progress, while failure I see as a valuable experience from which I can learn a lesson. I use opportunities for self-improvement every day because I believe that we contribute to the community’s daily decision to build and refine ourselves through our effort, work, learning, and exchange of ideas, opinions and experiences. In this way, we can help influence others by our example to build a harmonious society step by step.

How did the selection of international relations and diplomacy studies come about, and how do you assess your studies at Libertas?

First and foremost, it was my interest in international relations that led me to the selection of studies in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Libertas International University. At university, I always felt “at home.” Libertas simoultaneously opened my eyes and many doors, namely opportunities. The lectures were inspiring. I learned a lot, honed existing skills and acquired new ones, and discovered things about myself that I wasn’t aware of.

What activities are you involved in at the University?

I am very engaged and participate in a number of activities at the University. I serve as a demonstrator in certain courses in the implementation of the teaching process. I am the operational editor of the university newspaper, and I participate in the organization and implementation of forums and conferences at the University, such as “State (In)Stability: Past, present, future perspectives for the nation-state”. As a member of the Student Union, I represent students, and I also lead the Quality Committee, which aims to facilitate communication between students, professors and administration in order to resolve current issues and improve conditions at the University. On a part-time basis, I perform tasks for the University Career Center, covering marketing and administrative duties.

What other associations do you participate in as an active member?

I am a member and participant of the activities of the Youth Association for Strategic Risk and Crisis Management (Regional Student Network) which works in cooperation with partner and related organizations such as the United Nations, the European Center for Peace and Development, institutions from Great Britain, France, China, Italy, etc. I am a member of the Croatian Association for International Studies (HUMS); I participate in events and write expert analyses and reviews on international relations with an interdisciplinary approach. I had an internship in the Zagreb Office of the Hanns Seidel Stiftung Foundation, and I actively participated in the arrangement and discussion during the forum Artificial Intelligence and Security Governance in Contemporary International Affairs in Zagreb on 16th and 17th February 2023. I am also a member of the European Youth Parliament Croatia (EPMH) and involved in activities of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association Croatia (YATA Croatia).

You are an intern at the Centre for Social Innovation and Sustainable Development (CEDIOR) and the International Crowdfunding Center (ICFC). Introduce us to the work of Cedior and ICFC and your role.

Last year I became involved in the work of the International Crowdfunding Center (ICFC) and the Center for Social Innovation and Sustainable Development (CEDIOR) under the leadership of Zoran Rajn, president of the CEDIOR group whose work has been internationally recognized. The Group is engaged in several activities in the field of social innovation, social entrepreneurship and innovative project financing models, especially crowdfunding.

Given the complexity and interdisciplinarity of crowdfunding and the fact that diplomacy is my profession, working at the International Crowdfunding Center (ICFC) is my biggest challenge so far. It is also an exceptional opportunity to connect diplomacy and entrepreneurship because finance is the language of economics and economic progress is one of the fundamental goals of diplomacy.

As an intern and representative of the Center, I participate in international forums to promote and affirm crowdfunding as an innovative model of financing. In addition, I establish contacts and relationships with potential clients and partners – companies, NGOs, public bodies, educational institutions and financial institutions – to prepare and implement crowdfunding campaigns, organise crowdfunding trainings and workshops and develop innovative public policies and programs for financing projects through crowdfunding.

Also, I am promoting the educational project Crowdfunding in schools, which is intended for students and their professors. Upon completion of the program, participants learn how to successfully create and implement a crowdfunding campaign. We encourage them to participate in the Crowdfunding Social Challenge – a challenge aimed at solving a social problem through crowdfunding. For each school or higher education institution, the goal is to launch at least one crowdfunding campaign and successfully solve some social problems from its environment with the support of the crowdfunding platform Croinvest.eu. Due to its value, the project has been recognized by a number of institutions at the state and local level and is under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Education. In addition to crowdfunding, participants have the opportunity to get acquainted with other sources of project financing, as well as concepts such as social innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainable development and circular economy. In the end, they receive a certificate of completed program, and the school or higher education institution is awarded a certificate of social responsibility – The School of the Future. At a later stage, attendees have the opportunity to participate in the Crowdfunding Case Study Contest, a student competition through which they have the opportunity to work on turning concrete projects into crowdfunding campaigns. The teams that are most successful in this win valuable prizes from the competition’s sponsors and a certain ownership share in the project they are working on.

Describe some of the experiences from the international meetings where you represented Cedior and ICFC.

I visited Ukraine as part of the economic delegation of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE), and I participated in the Croatian-Ukrainian Business Forum in December 2021. I was fascinated by the country’s size and rich heritage, and thrilled by the warm welcome and accessibility of the people. Since its inception, the Ukrainian people have been facedwith deep challenges but also with an exceptional will and desire for progress. The conference was a kind of baptism of fire for me, and I saw what diplomacy and business in practice look like behind closed doors. I learned a lot about what I’ll be able to apply later. At the conference and subsequent ceremony, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman, Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine Anica Djamić and representatives of the Ukrainian political delegation and chamber of commerce.

I recently participated in the Economic Forum between the European Union and Africa (EABF 2022), where I promoted crowdfunding and established contacts and partnerships with a number of African companies, organisations, institutions and individuals. Also, I am actively participating in The Economy of Francesco (EoF), an international event sponsored by Pope Francis whose purpose is to devise new economic models focusing on the general well-being. In September, in Assisi, I will participate in a three-day meeting with the Pope that will bring together young innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists worldwide.

Your message for the end.

I would say to all: dare to know, question, dream, and act with dedication and enthusiasm, for as Robert Browning said, “A man’s reach must be greater than that of his hands, what else is the heavens for?”

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