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Humans of ISC65: Matej Mikasinovic-komso

Matej Mikasinovic-komso, former participant of last year's conference comes back this time with a new role: as a table chief. He is now managing his table on the topic of "Freedom of Speech and Its Restriction in Today's World".

"There may be some who believe that, just because we now have constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speeches, we do not need to worry about it anymore. However, freedom of speech as a right is never set it stone – it is always in danger of slowly being limited and removed. In my opinion, this is what makes freedom of speech such a relevant topic, worthy of deeper discussions."

Q1. Please tell us what are the reasons/motivations that made you apply for ISC65?

My motivation for applying to ISC65 can be divided into three main reasons. The first reason comes from the enjoyable and amazing experience which I had while participating in ISC64. ISC64 was an amazingly organized student conference, filled with interesting participants and committee members, fun trips, incredible locations and deep and interesting topic discussions with both my table members and other participants. I consider it one of the best student conferences of which I have been a part of, which is why I have no doubt that ISC65 will be the same – because of that I wish to again participate in it!

The second reason is a desire to participate in a student conference, but on a higher level of engagement. As a Master Degree student on my final academic year, I have, throughout my studies, participated in a large number of student conferences. Because of that I have ample experience in discussing and participating, which is why I am looking for a way to engage in student conferences on a higher and more challenging level – participating as a regular participant is no longer that exciting and intense for me. This is why I chose to apply as a table chief for ISC65 – that way, I can participate in a student conference, but on a more difficult and more engaging way! Being a Table Chief will push me to work even harder and will mark a fresh new experience for me.

The final reason is that ISC was simply a lot of fun for me, especially since I got to meet a lot of new people and make a lot of new friends. So, by participating in the conference, I have a chance to again see all of my friends!

Q2.What do you think about your table’s topic?

There are a few reasons why I chose Freedom of Speech as my topic. Firstly, I believe that this topic is relevant, not only for our current times, but for all societies at any time. There may be some who believe that, just because we now have constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speeches, we do not need to worry about it anymore. However, freedom of speech as a right is never set it stone – it is always in danger of slowly being limited and removed. In my opinion, this is what makes freedom of speech such a relevant topic, worthy of deeper discussions.

Secondly, I was always fascinated by the Internet, and the freedom of speech which it enables to its users – only through the Internet can I have free discussions about difficult and deep topics with people from all over the world. I think that this is a unique possibility, as it enables us to truly live in what is defined as a Global Village – a location in which people from all over the world live. Sadly, there are a lot of aspects which threaten to reduce and censor this freedom that the Internet provides, which troubles me greatly. This is why this topic is very close to my heart, and it is also why I chose it.

Thirdly, I believe that freedom of speech is a discussion topic which is open and welcoming to participants from all parts of the world. It is important for a topic at an international student conference to deal with a subject in which everyone can participate. If I chose a topic which was only familiar to participants from Europe, and not to the participants from other parts of the world, it would make for a difficult topic to openly discuss. By choosing a topic which is relevant in every part of the world, I wanted to make sure that no participant would be excluded from being able to participate in the discussions.

Q3.What do you think about your table’s activities in overall now?

As with any team in which the members do not know one another, it is sometimes hard to make the participants feel comfortable for discussions. This is why it is important to first create a pleasant and safe environment, before setting out to have discussions. That’s why we’ve had some friendly meetings, in which we all introduced ourselves to each other. After that, we all enjoyed some fun conversations, before discussing about how we will prepare for the coming Main conference. So far, the vibe of the team is comfortable and calm – the members know our plan for discussions and assignments for the entire Summer, and they are currently working on simple assignments based on gathering information and reading about the problems of freedom of speech. As the starting date of the main conference approaches, we will be dealing with more and more difficult assignments, in order to prepare everyone for the table discussions.

Q4. Can you share hare with us some of your feelings towards the upcoming ISC65?

I am looking forward towards participating in ISC65, not only because I will again see a lot of people who I have meet in ISC64, but also because it is my first time participating in a conference as a team leader! This makes ISC65 a completely new experience for me, even though I have already participated in many different student conferences. Also, since this year is my final academic year, ISC65 marks the last student conference in which l will be able to participate in – so I see ISC65 as a kind of farewell to my student days!

Q5. Can you tell us a little bit about your hometown?

I am from Croatia, a small European country just East of Italy. Even though I study in Zagreb, the capitol city of Croatia, I actually come from a smaller city called Pula, which has only 50000 citizens. It is a famous and popular tourist city, maybe you have heard of it?

It was funded 2000 years ago by Ancient Romans on 7 hills (Romans liked to build cities on 7 hills), which is why in Pula you can find Roman buildings and architecture – including the Pula Amphitheater! It is the same building like the Rome Colosseum, only smaller but better preserved, and it used to hold Gladiator fights for the ancient citizens of Pula. Nowadays, the city organizes movie festivals and music concerts in it, which is a sight to behold; inside the Amphitheater, you watch the spectacle with a clear view of the starry night sky, while from the outside you can see the Amphitheater shining!

Much later, in the 19thcentury, the Austro-Hungarian empire decided to turn Pula into the empire’s main military port, which modernized Pula and helped it grow into the major city that it now is. This is why it is possible to find Austrian architecture in the city, which looks amazing when combined with the ancient Rome architecture – this forms a special city spirit that I have rarely seen elsewhere. Because it went through so many different ruling cultures, each with their own sense of architecture style, Pula now has a combination of multiple architecture designs, each flowing into the other – making you truly experience the sense of history and the passing of time, as you walk through its streets.

Alongside amazing ancient architecture, Pula is also a coastal city, which means that it has many beaches! During summer, you can find many local people and foreign tourists sunbathing and swimming. I enjoy going to the beach almost every day, since it is only 15 minutes by car from my home. There are also small islands scattered close around Pula, which makes it a lot of fun to go and explore them through camping trips with friends.

I would highly recommend Pula to anyone for visiting – not only is it an amazing and historical city, but you also have so many other unique and cool cities, towns and islands close to it! It is also really pleasant at night, with many pubs, bars and coffee shops staying open until late in the evening, so you can have fun with your friends. I guarantee that you would have a great time in Pula!

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