Growing up in Bosnia and Herzegovina not long after the civil war in the early 1990s, Dino Kolonic had always wanted to find a way to study and understand more about the conflict in his country. When coming to NYU Abu Dhabi, Kolonic chose to major in political science to learn about the implications and better understand the politics behind the civil war that took place in his home country, and conflicts in other countries.
Through his studies, he was also able to further hone where he wanted to take his career post graduation. During his first year, Kolonic’s J-Term class took him to Jordan where he was introduced to organizations working to improve education for Syrian refugee children. Meeting with UNICEF and USAID allowed Kolonic to see firsthand what it takes to work in such an environment, and also gave him the opportunity to ask questions regarding the challenges posed to these organizations. “I know I wanted to work with NGOs and international organizations towards something related to peacekeeping,” Kolonic said, and the J-Term experience moved him another step forward to exploring this field.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Joan Barceló’s class on civil wars and international intervention is another educational experience that deeply impacted Kolonic. The class touched on the effects of civil conflicts on society, and how the international community can help end civil wars. Despite classes being held virtually, Kolonic enjoyed every session. It allowed Kolonic to grasp the impact of the war and his life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kolonic’s intellectual stimulation extended well beyond the classroom.
The campus community also made Kolonic more aware of issues happening around the world. With classmates sharing their experiences and news from home, current affairs become relatable on a human level, rather than just headlines.
This exposure to a diverse community is one of the reasons he had chosen to study at NYUAD in the first place. Graduating from a high school with students from over 60 countries, Kolonic wanted to continue in a dynamic study environment. “I understood the value of an international student body and the intellectually stimulating conversations that come with it,” Kolonic said. A decision Kolonic stands by: “You just feel like you’re in a place where you will get the skills and the community to actually do things that will impact the future.”