Meet Alumna Eva Paunova from Bulgaria, One of Europe's Youngest MPs

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On May 25th, John Cabot University alumna Eva Paunova from Bulgaria became one of the youngest members of the European Parliament. Eva ran for Bulgaria’s largest political party, the center-right GERB, which stands for “Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria.” Eva, 28, graduated from JCU in 2008 with degrees in International Affairs and Business Administration. She also participated in an Executive Education program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Since January 2013 Eva has coordinated policy initiatives between GERB’s headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria and the GERB delegation in the European Parliament in Brussels.
Prior to arriving in Brussels, Eva worked at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in the Global Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the headquarters in Rome, Italy and at the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre in Sydney, Australia.

Eva Paunova

Eva Paunova

How did you find your passion for politics?
As I child I was truly fascinated with history. This interest naturally developed into a passion for politics and international affairs. With the clear conscience that I wanted to dedicate my career to politics, I had to find a suitable environment where I could develop my potential and enhance my knowledge and skills, so I enrolled in JCU.

What was your experience at JCU like?
John Cabot University provided me with the unique experience of an American education in an international environment right in the center of Rome. In addition to the high quality of teaching, I really appreciated the close professor-student relationship that was nurtured by the university. I am also very thankful for the numerous opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities and do internships with some of the best organizations in my sphere. I also joined Student Government and served for three consecutive years – first as Press Officer, than as Vice-President and later as President – an experience that reaffirmed my interest and drove me to pursue politics as a career.

Were there any professors who had an impact on you?
There were quite a few, but I have especially fond memories of Professors Andrea Lanzone, Professor Gabriele Simoncini, and Dean Mary Merva.

Tell us about your career path since graduating from JCU.
Already during my studies at JCU I gained some professional experience, interning at UniCredit and at the British Embassy in Sofia. Upon the completion of my BA, I joined the International Development Law Organisation, working at their offices in Rome and Sydney. Although I truly enjoyed my job, I was also eager to work for Bulgaria, to contribute to the development of my own country. Thus, I began a career in the European Parliament – initially as a policy advisor to a Bulgarian Member of European Parliament and later on as Executive Coordinator of the GERB-EPP Delegation and Senior Policy Advisor.

In April of 2014 I was part of the election list of the GERB party for the European Parliament elections. Together with my colleagues we commenced a month-long election campaign in Bulgaria, traveled more than 7000 kilometers, met with thousands of people, and managed to win their trust and vote. On July 1st I will be officially sworn in as a Member of the European Parliament.

What will be some of your first projects as an MEP?
I would like to work for a prosperous future for Europe and its youth. Europe is of need of engaged, motivated and determined young people so I hope that my example will motivate others.

One of my first projects will be to work towards ensuring quality education for everyone. I attribute my successful career to my teachers and professors, my school and my excellent university education. I want young Bulgarians to experience such high academic standards in their own country – and I want this for all Europeans.

Learn more about studying Business Administration at John Cabot University in Rome.

Learn more about studying Political Science and International Affairs at John Cabot University in Rome.