Our alumni board, personally speaking
Predrag Tapavicki has been head of team training at the Center for International Peace Operations in Berlin since 2022. Previously, he was head of Alumni and Career Services at Jacobs University Bremen. He studied political science and international relations at the University of Bremen from 2004 to 2010.
Volunteering…that’s all well and good, but it also means work. Why do you serve on the board of the alumni association?
As a university alumnus, I feel a shared responsibility for my alma mater – that with the help of alumni, it can continue to develop in the truest sense. Knowledge is made by people and shared by people, so for a university, support from alumni networks is indispensable. In Germany this isn’t much of a tradition but we know it’s different in the Anglo-Saxon world, especially in the US. As someone whose job was alumni relations at a university, I can and want to make a contribution here with my knowledge and my network. For me, two things are paramount: internationalisation, meaning international networking, and excellence in teaching and research. From the outside, the university’s visibility is also Bremen's visibility – the university is Bremen's gateway to the world.
What was an alumni experience where you thought: “Wow, what a great association!”?
In my previous role as head of alumni relations at another Bremen university, I was looking to network with the University of Bremen’s alumni association, and we were able to get some things going together. In the middle of the corona pandemic, we managed to hold bigger online meetings twice and everyone there could sense the enthusiasm for Bremen. Bremen has an incredible amount of potential, which can be developed when people come together and put the word out into the world. The university's alumni association does an excellent job here, we also have a number of chapters overseas and people still feel a connection with the university and with Bremen.
When have you thought: "We could do better”?
Also regarding internationalisation. You just have to look over to the Netherlands at your neighbours there to see how even venerable and traditional universities can open up to the world and compete on the international stage. Both Bremen and its university need the full support of the alumni association in order to spread its good reputation around the world.
Uni Bremen alumni in ten years: What will be different from today?
Predicting the future is one thing. But: Based on how the association has grown so far, I firmly believe that we will have at least 10–15,000 members. I’m putting a lot into our work with current students, to motivate them to become members of the association while they are still studying or at the latest after they graduate. I believe that we will see a greater influx of young graduates. And there will certainly be better networking with other alumni associations and various institutions, companies and organisations where alumni work. The significance of the alumni association will continue to grow, as it cements its role as a mainstay of the university.
About your time studying/working at Uni Bremen, what makes you say: “I wouldn’t miss that for anything!”?
When I was a student, smoking was still allowed in the GW2 cafeteria and beer was served there – a perfect environment for studying social sciences! No, joking aside: I definitely miss the excellent food in the university canteen. And the encounters with a wide variety of people that I had during my two study periods there. What I will certainly miss less are the cold, windy winter days on Universitäts-Boulevard – a wind tunnel! But that's the way it is in the north, and you're that much happier to be in the warm Mensa enjoying the excellent food.
When you’re not busy with alumni and the University of Bremen, what else is important to you in life?
In my current job in Berlin, I am committed to promoting sustainable peace-building around the world. Social engagement is important, and since I was a refugee myself, I have been supporting work with refugees for years, most recently people from Ukraine. Many of them are also students. There is a wonderful network in Bremen, including colleges and universities, to support them.
I enjoy travelling – worldwide. I was very happy that I was recently able to visit Southeast Asia and Australia again. I love nature and like to hike in the mountains, especially in the Dolomites. And I also make art – when and where the next exhibition will be, we’ll see…