Students Participate in High-Level Political Forum

Three Webster students, Anda Radu, Zak Kilhoffer, and Arbana Gjoni took part in the Crans Montana Forum on Central to Far-Eastern Europe held in Palais Niederösterreich, Vienna, between 29 June and 1 July. The forum featured an impressive roster of participants and speakers including three current heads of state, several former prime ministers, a number of current parliamentarians, and dozens of experts in corruption, energy security, migration, development, and other pertinent topics.

Over three days, these Webster students were able to participate in expert meetings and personally meet top professionals at the fore of international relations. “The lineup was extremely impressive. I’ve never sat in a room with so many important personalities before,” said Zak Kilhoffer about the forum. “It was quite an experience and a great opportunity. I spoke to one gentleman over a coffee, and it turned out he was a high court justice in Swaziland. I met with experts in my field of counterterrorism. I accidentally brushed shoulders with the President of Albania. His bodyguards weren’t happy but he’s a nice guy.”

Arbana Gjoni had a similarly positive experience. “The forum was very good for networking, great for meeting international and world leaders. And not just political, but business leaders. It was also an honor because I was able to meet the Albanian President and Mr. Ling, leader of the new Silk Road Project.” Arbana was also pleased to have the opportunity to represent Webster Vienna Private University. “It was great to present our university, which should follow this forum in the future. It was remarkable.”

Anda Randu said, “What I particularly enjoyed about this forum were the interesting conversations with a diverse and quite exclusive array of people, as well as the topics that have been brought to the attention of the audience. On the one hand, I had the chance to talk to an amazing ambassador, to an investor, to youth delegates, to parliamentarians, to a head of intelligence, to a Minister of State and to many others. I shared views and ideas both with representatives of my home country, Romania, and with people from around the globe. On the other hand, the sessions approached multiple times the topic area of energy, which strengthened my belief that it will be a very relevant area of research for my master thesis.”

Crans Montana is a Swiss non-governmental organization that has operated since 1986. It is “Committed to a more Humane and Impartial World,” working with major international organizations, governments, and businesses to bring about new partnerships and innovative solutions.