Kiril Avramov ’99: Risk Analyst, Professor, and World Citizen

Posted on January 7th, 2016 by

Kiril Avramov '99 visited Richard Leitch's XXXXXX class during his time on campus.

Kiril Avramov ’99 visited Richard Leitch’s Comparative Politics class during his time on campus.

When Kiril Avramov ’99 set foot on the Gustavus campus this October for the first time in 16 years, he found that many things were different. However, despite the physical changes, the heart of Gustavus that Avramov came to know and love as a student was still very much alive. The community that nurtured him to be what he is today welcomed him back with open arms.

Avramov, now a professor at New Bulgarian University in Sofia, Bulgaria, is currently a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Texas-Austin. Each year, roughly 800 faculty members and professionals from around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and college lectureships in the United States. Participants are chosen based on academic merit and leadership.

Avramov came to Gustavus from Bulgaria in 1995 as a first-year student. Beginning college is a big change for anyone, but to come halfway across the world and start college in a foreign country makes the transition even more intense. Avramov noticed when he arrived how much the college was doing to bring a diverse group of people into the campus community. No longer did Avramov feel alone in his journey as an international student. “It has to be noted that Gustavus is unique in terms of accommodating very different people with very diverse backgrounds,” he said. Avramov also addressed the Scandinavian roots of the school, one of the reasons Gustavus is unique. “I’ve had my share of harsh Minnesota weather, but Gustavus compensates with the warmth of its people.” Avramov (or Koko, as his peers and professors began to call him) thrived in the Gustavus environment.

Avramov graduated from Gustavus in 1999 with a major in political science and minor in economics. Before further pursuing his academic career, Avramov was a political risk analyst for a company called Political Capital. Avramov appears regularly on European television and has been quoted by Newsweek and Reuters. In addition to being a gifted political analyst, he is conversational in four different languages as a result of his career in international affairs. As a risk analyst, he had to be able to predict future events by analyzing details of the past. Avramov said that the foundation he built within the Gustavus community is what made this career possible. “When I look back on my time here at Gustavus and at my career, I realize how many opportunities Gustavus has given me,” he said.

After his employment as a risk analyst, Avramov went back to academia. He earned his doctorate in political science in 2008 from the University of Sofia in Bulgaria. During his time at the University of Sofia, Avramov was immersed in a large school environment that was contrasted with his Gustavus experience. At the university, he noticed the difficulty of maintaining a meaningful professor-student relationship. “At large universities, the personal touch is missing,” he said.

Kiril Avramov '99

Kiril Avramov ’99

Avramov is currently conducting research for a project called In Conspiracy We Trust, which will examine how governments sometimes use conspiracy theories as political tools. After his term as a visiting Fulbright Scholar, Avramov will return to his post as a professor of political science at the New Bulgarian University.

Now a professor in a large school environment, Avramov was ecstatic to be back at his undergraduate alma mater. Since graduation, he has kept in touch with Gustavus professors Richard Leitch and Chris Gilbert. Leitch was responsible for bringing him back to campus and explained how a teacher like Avramov is able to use his real-world experiences to translate to the classroom environment. “His students are no doubt inspired by his fluency in English and they have benefited from his worldly experiences, his scholarship, and his dynamic teaching style,” Leitch said.

Even after being gone for 16 years, Avramov still thinks of Gustavus as home. During his short time on campus, he gave a public lecture on his research and was a guest speaker for a political science class. He also returned to historic Old Main where he spent much of his time as a political science major. A true Gustie for life, Avramov was one of the loudest fans at the Gustavus volleyball game against Hamline on Oct. 28.

On the last day of his visit, Avramov reflected on his Gustavus experience and the many paths he’s traveled.“Gustavus gave me so much added value because once you start on a solid foundation from your undergraduate degree, you can build on that forever. You look back at those basic skills you learned and view them as invaluable,” he said.

Avramov left one piece of advice for current Gustavus students: “Be active and passionate about what you do.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Pamela Anderson says:

    Fantastic story! It’s so interesting to learn about the diversity that exists at Gustavus. Truly a small community with a world-wide connection.