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winn davis, croatia, 2014-2015
Fulbright Scholar Winn Davis

Fulbright Year: 2014-2015
Country: Croatia
Proposal Type: Research Grant
Proposal Title: Croatian Diaspora Policy and Its Effects on Bilateral Relations
UGA Undergraduate Major: International Affairs
Graduation Date: Spring 2011
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia

As an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, Winn Davis spent many hours volunteering with UGA’s Department of Intercultural Affairs and Office of International Student Life, assisting international students in adjusting to their new surroundings and sharing their cultures with the local community.

During his sojourns to Kazakhstan, the Republic of Georgia, Scotland, and Hungary, Winn found the favor returned as he was warmly welcomed by many of his hosts, an experience that reinforced his desire to pursue academic and research opportunities – like the NSEP Boren, the Erasmus Mundus and the Fulbright scholarships – on faraway shores.

“In my travels, I have often been the sole American that people have encountered, and thus am greatly humbled by the impact of these programs’ cross-cultural elements,” says Winn, who while in Athens also minored in Russian language and literature and earned a certificate in Global Studies from UGA’s GLOBIS Center.

With a focus on bilateral relations, Winn’s Fulbright year will find him in Croatia, working with the University of Zagreb’s political science faculty and the Department of West Slavonic Languages and Literature. Winn will investigate the effects of Croatian diaspora policy on bilateral relations, a situation with increased value these days, thanks in no small part to Croatia’s accession to the European Union.

“My research will catalogue the policies used by the Croatian government (and) their effects on selected bilateral relationships, and then to make policy recommendations for the European Union, Croatia and the United States,” says Winn, who this summer is completing credits for an International Master’s in Russian, Central, and East European Studies from the University of Glasgow.

The Savannah native adds that his interest in Central and East European and identity politics “have come from a life exposed to the difficulties of a multi-ethnic system in the South, and also its triumphs and successes.”

“By combining my beliefs in equality, democratic systems and multiculturalism with my interests in culture and the post-communist space, I found a raison d’être for my work,” says Winn, who also interned with U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, worked with the U.S. Embassy in Budapest’s Political and Economic Section, and taught English as a foreign language in the Republic of Georgia.

With plans to seek a career in the U.S. Foreign Service after his Fulbright year, Winn says his time in Croatia will enable him to move ever closer to his professional goals.

“I believe that working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb will allow me to learn even more of the complex and demanding rigors of the U.S. Foreign Service,” he says. “I have also been searching for jobs and fellowships at European and American research centers and think tanks focused on minority rights policy and nationalism.

“My passion for public policy and equality drives me to pursue a career in public service. I know it has positively impacted my life, and I hope to return that through my work.”

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