Established by CEU President & Rector Michael Ignatieff and his wife Zsuzsanna Zsohar, this program brings undergraduates and graduates together to foster community and support academic excellence. The awards are given annually to two incoming Bachelor’s students as well as two Master’s and two Doctoral candidates.
Franziska Marhold, BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Franziska chose CEU not only for its academic excellence and global reputation but also for the diverse community and founding values. Her interest is exploring the relationship between globalization and populism as well as the potential for truly democratic international cooperation.
She won the national Austrian award for pre-scientific papers in the field of political education and is active with Fridays for Future Vienna. Her climate activism has involved working with prominent European media to inform the public on a scientific basis and discuss climate justice with high-ranking politicians.
Marianna Wicha, BA in Culture, Politics and Society
Marianna is keen to develop her understanding of the modern world. Her interest in how culture plays a critical role in preserving truth can be seen in her passion for theatre. She directed her class’ performance of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" at School Theatre Festival (Czacki Festiwal Teatralny), and it was later performed at Ochota Theatre in Warsaw.
Marianna has also been a member of the local Amnesty International group in Warsaw, participated in the Y-FED Model European Federation, and actively contributed to the Climate Youth Strike – Warsaw FFF group's efforts.
Jan Hradicky, MA in Political Science
Before starting at CEU, Jan completed his BA with 1st-class honors in Politics, Sociology and East European Studies at University College London.
At CEU, he focuses primarily on comparative politics and international relations. He has contributed to a project on formal and informal ethnic power-sharing in both democracies and autocracies. Most recently, he completed an internship at the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic. He was an analyst in the Value for Money Department, working on increasing the effectiveness of governmental expenditures and improving public services.
Anita Lekova, MA in Gender Studies
Anita received an MA (Honors) in Russian Studies and Politics from the University of Edinburgh. Her dissertation analyzed visual culture and the portrayal of Soviet women in the 1920s and 1930s.
She continues to focus on the topic of cultural awareness at CEU. One of the research projects she contributed to was about representations of women in film during the time of socialism in Bulgaria. For her thesis, she is analyzing how gender is understood within the Bulgarian context. Most recently, she worked on ERASMUS+ project development as a corporate social responsibility intern.
Stephen Awoyemi, PhD in Environmental Sciences & Policy
Stephen obtained his MPhil in Conservation Leadership from University of Cambridge and his MSc in Zoology from University of Ibadan. At CEU, he continues to be guided by the question: "How can I contribute?" He intends to seek even more answers through the Presidential Scholar program. He is currently conducting fieldwork in Nigeria.
As a conservation biologist, he's held multiple leadership positions, including Regional Coordinator of Africa within the University of Cambridge's Conservation Leadership Alumni Network. One of his primary responsibilities in this role is to cultivate and support opportunities for self-improvement and career development.
Mirko Dukovic, PhD in Legal Studies
Mirko earned his LLM in International Economic and Business Law from Kyushu University and his MA in European Integration Law from the University of Belgrade. His focus is on civil and political rights in established and emerging democracies, constitutional law, as well as biomedical law and ethics in biomedicine.
He's currently a Teaching Assistant at the CEU School of Public Policy and an instructor in the topic of human rights for the Romani Studies Program. He is committed to the re-invention of courses and re-imagining of teaching methods to best educate new generations of students with different perspectives and learning goals.