Prof. Luka Brkić, PhD, Libertas University : The necessity of integrated and comprehensive approach to education

The fundamental goal of all graduate studies should be the provision of competitive and applicable knowledge and research skills, as well as the training of experts who will be able to actively contribute to the design and implementation of new economic strategies and policies to ensure sustainable development.

Libertas University stands out from the competition in terms of quality, and two postgraduate studies stand out in particular: “International Relations and Diplomacy” and “Business Economics and Sustainable Development”. Prof. Luka Brkić, PhD, from Libertas University speaks for Diplomacy&Commerce about the advantages and what postgraduate studies offer, and also about the quality of higher education in Croatia.

 1. As a professor who has been educating for many years and has in some way taken part in the process of creating new experts, how would you rate the educational system of postgraduate studies in Croatia? To what extent do they follow the needs of the market and how much they are in line with the European ones? 

Croatia is characterized by very poor and high labor costs and the rigidity of the labor market, as well as a lack of workers with higher and specialized knowledge and skills, and a high degree of mismatch between the acquired know-how and the needs of the economy. Unfortunately, the structure of Croatian students does not correspond to demands of the labor market. In the area of innovation, low realization results from the limited participation of the private sector in research and development activities. Finally, the European Semester: the process of shaping, coordinating and enacting economic policies, which includes national authorities, the European Commission and the European Council, clearly indicates that the core of Croatia’s structural problems lies in the fields of international competitiveness and the functioning of the labor market, and thus the education system as a whole.


  1. Libertas University especially highlights two postgraduate studies: “International Relations and Diplomacy” and “Business Economics and Sustainable Development”. What exactly do the studies offer and how are they conceived?

The “International Relations and Diplomacy” studies show that complexity has always been an issue for anyone who tried to understand the dynamics of international relations. By analyzing the structure of international space we question the consistency of positioning of the stakeholders, and in the study of the process of integration as a new perspective in global and local relations, the realization of the union of the state and the market, and the connection of macroeconomic regulation and microeconomic adjustment, we want to point out all the heterogeneity of contemporary thought in matters of international relations – from the point of view of basic theoretical orientation, as well as from the point of view of the problems it examines. “Business Economics and Sustainable Development” is based on cooperation of the Libertas International University in Zagreb and the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb, and in terms of its content, this doctoral study is the first study of its kind in the Republic of Croatia. This study was launched in consultation with representatives of relevant stakeholders, and scientists and researchers who work on the topics of sustainable development, the economy of value creation and green growth of the economy, such as the Society for Sustainable Development Design, the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar and the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development. Research in this study program is focused on the study of new social, management, economic, environmental topics that are significant for sustainable development at the local, national and international levels, and are extremely poorly represented in other postgraduate doctoral and research programs. When it comes to research topics, I would like to point out some of them: sustainable development policies and practices, corporate social and environmental responsibility, collaborative strategies, ecological economics, circular economy, sustainable transport system, social sustainability research, climate change, agriculture and development, audit systems and environmental management, policy and strategy for governments and businesses.


  1. When we talk about modern diplomacy and international relations, how different are they in practice today compared to before, and what would you single out as the basis of contemporary diplomacy that we can see in the postgraduate study program of Libertas University?

 Configuration of domestic interests and access of these interests to the executive power is actually an essential factor in understanding the formation of preferences of stakeholders at an international level. In attempts to analyze the complexity of the international space, some questions have arisen about the mechanisms that promote both political stability and change. If the international space can be defined as a complex system, then a high level of unpredictability must be accepted within that reference framework. This doctoral study systematizes knowledge about the government, about the motives of statesmen’s behavior, providing the basis for interstate interactions. Behavioral analysis, game theory, analysis of systems and subsystems, the process of making political decisions are central to this approach.


  1. How do you perceive sustainable development, which is a popular topic in today’s world? How much do we recognize that topic, especially together with business economics?

Sustainable development has three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. The issue of preservation and sustainable use of the environment as a lever for development is gradually integrated in development policies.  Sustainable development cannot be achieved only with technological solutions, political regulations or financial instruments. We need to change the way of thinking, and the practice of acting, and such change requires quality education and learning for sustainable development on all levels and in all social contexts promoting awareness of “green growth”, collaborative relationship towards the community and the ecosystem, corporate sustainability, sharing and value creation economy and health preservation. Finally, the concept of sustainable development at UN level was accepted at the Rio de Janeiro conference in 1992 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.


  1. Study programs are intended for people with an acquired academic degree, mostly with advanced careers. What attracts doctoral students to postgraduate studies at Libertas University the most?

Both postgraduate doctoral programs offer the education and professional training of experts and scientists who are desirable in the labor market. Both programs recognize the necessity of an integrated and comprehensive approach to education at the doctoral level, and, in addition to a certain number of courses common for all areas of economics and sustainable development, i.e. international relations and diplomacy as necessary basic knowledge, they offer attractive elective courses intended for closer specialization of doctoral students, with the aim of creating internationally recognized and socially responsible researchers for the purposes of development of science and society as a whole.


  1. How would you rate the range of acquired knowledge of the students at the beginning and at the end of the studies and how they apply the newly acquired knowledge and what are their opportunities?

Participants will acquire the know-how for formulating critical questions for the design and implementation of research at a high international level by dealing with the interdisciplinarity and complexity of social, political, economic and environmental issues with learning outcomes and competencies in accordance with the needs of the labor market and economic growth in the Republic of Croatia. At these studies, employees of scientific and research institutes, employees of state administration bodies, managers in private companies, consultants, researchers of civil society organizations and think tanks not only from Croatia but from the entire region of Southeast Europe, are educated and trained.