Ivanov School of Leaders Alumni Association


Josipa Rizankoska

Can you tell us, what is your education background and work experience? 

In 2012 the University of Siena - Italy has granted me a scholarship for PhD studies in Comparative Politics, and I am currently in the 3rd year of my doctorate studies. I hold a joint MA degree in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies in Eastern Europe (MIREES) from the Bologna University, and a BA degree in Political Science at the Law Faculty in Skopje. Since 2007 I am part of the research team of the Institute for Democracy-Skopje. My main fields of research are the electoral processes, political parties, civil society organizations and public opinion in democratic societies. I have previous experience in qualitative and quantitative data analyses, coordination of research projects, project management, administrative management and fund raising. 

What is your biggest driver in life, what motivates you to do your job? 

Every time things go hard in life, my family is the “fuel that fires up my engines” and pushes me ahead. The idea of having my family safe, sound, and happy makes me work harder. However, I think my character is what “tells me” to work well. My parents always stand tall when they talk about me, and they are proud of who I am. This is a reward for all my work, but at the same time the biggest motivation to do better in future. 

What is Your Greatest Accomplishment? 

My education is my biggest accomplishment so far. In an era of easy access to information and knowledge and when education should be for everybody, it might sound awkward to speak about education as an accomplishment rather than a tool for successful carrier building. Nevertheless, University education was, and still is, an expensive luxury that parents could not always offer to their children. Working and studying during my undergraduate studies paid off with further opportunities to study abroad. The potential to compete with international students and to be twice awarded scholarships for MA and PhD studies in a high quality Universities is my accomplishment so far. Today, catching myself thinking in several different languages during one single day makes me feel free and confident that the path I chose can only make me richer in terms of knowledge, experience and friends. My energy at the moment is focused on finishing the studies, but my long term objective is to invest that knowledge in a socially responsible projects much more than I could do so far. Only then we can talk about real accomplishments. 

Any job values that you would like to share with us? 

Solidarity and sharing information is what I value the most in a team play. Devotion to the tasks, even to the minor ones, is an important characteristics because it helps other people working with you to be able to trust your work, and lean on you. Nevertheless the biggest value of all is the persistence. W. E. Hickson said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again!”

How is networking important for you and your career? What do you think in general about networking? 

In the core of the job tasks as a project manager was to do networking and collaboration with other civil society organizations, and to furthermore promote and facilitate it to the other CSOs. Working on a joint project and applying for grants requires partnership between eligible organizations. I found very challenging the task of composing a good consortium of organizations because there you need to trust teams instead of only individuals. In order to be able to choose a good partner you need to know their expertise and their experience. Therefore, networking between individuals is the first step into a better organization’s team building. One such an example of an individual level networking that had its reflection in my further job was the School for Young Leaders, where the individuals gave a significance to the institutions they had been involved in.

What do you do when you don't work? What are your hobbies? 

Packing. I travel and change places of living very often. So, packing sounds like a good hobby. Every time I am at home I rearrange the interior of the rooms by changing the furniture elements position, which is my passion. Books and my mp3 player are my two best friends on the road. But what I really love doing in my free time is go out with friends and spend long hours talking and catching up for the time we have been separated and limited to an on-line friendship.

Do you prefer/play any sports? 

My life is on the run lately, so going at gym and doing some cardio exercises is all I can afford.

What kind of books do you like reading, what is your last read book?

In the past 2 years I barely had time to read couple of novels. Тhe most recent novel I read was “Three Women” by Marge Piercy. This month I read for a second time several important books related to my research in nationalism and ethnicity such as A. Smith, E. Hobsbawm, E. Gellner, B. Anderson etc. 

Any favorite book /movie /TV show? 

My favorite books are “1984” by G. Orwell, “The Steppenwolf” by H. Hesse, “Pirej” by P.M. Andreevski, and “Veshtica” by V. Andonovski. I am not a big TV fan but I enjoyed the TV show “The Office” and “Dr. House”.