Ms. Budin comes to the Foundation with experience managing projects in the nonprofit, public and international organizations and with an interest in strengthening philanthropy and social innovation in Croatia.
Ms. Budin was Resource and Program Officer at World Learning in Washington, D.C., where she worked on USAID-funded training and capacity-building projects focusing on the Western Balkans and South East Europe. Prior to becoming director, Ms. Budin worked in the area of business environment reform in South East Europe as consultant with the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group, in Belgrade, Serbia.
Ms. Budin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Cultural Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in the United States. She has also studied at the Universität Tübingen in Germany and was a graduate summer fellow at the Office of the Mayor in Chicago.
Board of Directors
Ksenija Turković, PhD, Vice-rector for International and Inter-institutional Cooperation, University of Zagreb
Gavin M. Susman, entrepreneur
Mr. Susman is an entrepreneur who has helped spur innovation and economic growth across Central Europe and in the United States through extensive investments in IT/media, renewable energy and real estate.
In Croatia, Mr. Susman was the founding investor and Chairman of Iskon Internet, the company that popularized Internet access and introduced competition to the local telecommunications market. Mr. Susman was also a founder of Sanoma Magazines Zagreb (renamed Adria Media), now Croatia's second largest media publisher. Currently, he is an owner and board member of www.net.hr, Croatia's most popular online media venue.
Through his ownership in Proficio d.d., Mr. Susman is leading the redevelopment of several real estate projects on Croatia's coast. He also oversees Proficio's shareholding in Hungary's third-largest renewable energy company, Greenergy, and is working to expand its activities to Croatia.
Mr. Susman brings his leadership experience in the private sector to service on the Foundation's Board and in addition provides generous financial support. The success of the first Fellowship for the Future project, which supports study at top U.S. graduate schools for three Fellows, is due to the generous gifts of Mr. Susman and Proficio d.d.
Mr. Susman earned his Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and The Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, after which he was selected for a Presidential Management Internship.
“Support for young leaders is a critical long-term investment in the future of Croatia.“
Mladen Vedriš, PhD, Professor, Department of Economic Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
In addition to teaching, Dr. Vedriš has held several key public leadership positions. He was elected President of the Executive Council of the City Assembly of Zagreb (which would today equate to the position of Mayor of Zagreb) in 1990 and became Minister without Portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Croatia in 1992, responsible for urban issues and public administration reform. At the beginning of 1993, he was named Vice-President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Economic Affairs. From mid-1993 to September 1995 he was president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
In 1996, Dr. Vedriš founded the consulting and strategic planning firm Sonder.
Dr. Vedriš has been a lecturer at the Department of Economic Policy of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb since 2005. He teaches two undergraduate elective courses – International Economic Relations and Economic Success and Institutions. He is also a guest professor for doctoral and post-graduate studies at the Faculties of Economics in Zagreb, Rijeka and Osijek.
Dr. Vedriš is one of the founders of the Croatian National Competitiveness Council. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Croatian National Bank and a member of the Main Commission of the Croatian Society of Economists.
Dr. Vedriš received his B.A., M.A and PhD from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb.
Gordan Kožulj, Account Manager, Madison Consulting
Mr. Kožulj is an American, European and World champion in swimming and four-time Olympian. He is currently working as account manager for a public relations agency Madison Consulting and supporting Croatian swimming through his work as a director of national teams. Furthermore, Mr. Kožulj is member of the Croatian National Sport Council and the Athletes’ Commission at the European Olympic Committee. Previously, in parallel with his career as a professional athlete, Mr. Kožulj worked in sports marketing focusing on promotional campaigns and motivational speeches.
Robert Post, Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy in Zagreb
Mr. Post is currently the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. He has previously worked at U.S. Embassies in Slovenia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and at the U.S. Consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia. While at the State Department in Washington, he coordinated the public diplomacy activities of U.S. Embassies in the Nordic and Baltic states. Prior to joining the Department of State, Mr. Post served as a case officer on refugee resettlement issues and worked on a multi-million dollar exhibit that was shown across five former Soviet republics. Mr. Post holds a B.A. degree in Soviet Studies and an M.A. degree in the Russian language from Middlebury College.
Ivana Puljiz, Director, Directoratefor International Cooperation and European Integration, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia
Ms. Puljiz previously worked at the SIC-International Education Centre (now Institute for the Development of Education) for 6 years in the area of internationalization of higher education through scholarship programs and other projects. Among other responsibilities, Ms. Puljiz was U.S. State Department-appointed educational advisor.
She joined the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in 2006 as advisor to the minister and served for one year as the director of the Agency of Adult Education. Ms. Puljiz has been working at her current post since mid-2008. She has been engaged in several national bodies in the field of education, including the Working Group for Accession Negotiations/Education; the National Bologna Follow up Group, and currently the Governmental Committee for CROQF.
Ms. Puljiz possesses extensive expertise and experience in international cooperation, project management and educational policy processes.
Ms. Puljiz holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in the English Language and Literature and Comparative Literature from the University of Zagreb and has earned a Master’s degree in European Economic and Public Affairs at University College Dublin.
Regarding her motivation to serve on the Foundation board and help young leaders from Croatia gain access to study opportunities in the U.S., Ms. Puljiz quotes David Brooks:
“America is not just a democracy, it represents a certain culture of competitive mobility and personal aspirations, politics is not merely a clash of interests, but a clash of dreams.”
Ninoslav Šćukanec, Executive Director, Institute for the Development of Education (Founder)
Ninoslav Šćukanec is the founder of the Institute for the Development of Education where he has been President since 1999. Mr. Šćukanec is also the founder of the Croatian-American Foundation for Education and Training. He specializes in international education and the influence of globalization on higher education. In this sense, he has participated in prestigious professional development programs related to academic mobility, the internationalization of higher education institutions and management for non-profit institutions in Europe and the United States. His expertise relates to shaping and implementing higher education policies, particularly within the European Higher Education Area and in the United States.
He is a member of the Croatian Accreditation Council of the Agency for Science and Higher Education, the National Bologna Follow-up Group, the Committee for the Creation of the Croatian Qualifications Framework and a member of the IPA (Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance) Sectoral Monitoring Committee for the Human Resources Development Operational Programme in Croatia. Mr. Šćukanec completed his Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Political Science in 2007.
U.S. Affiliates Community in Croatia News
USACC Conference – What is an American Alumnus?
Embassy TED Talks