Damir Kramaric ('13) | Online Graduate Student, Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation
Damir Kramaric has a unique opportunity to help people in his home country of Croatia with the skills he's learning in ACU's Conflict Resolution and Conciliation program.
In Croatia, the majority are Roman-Catholic believers, while less than 1 percent are born-again Christians. There is often conflict and fighting among the people revolving around religion, says Kramaric, and few are trained to help resolve the arguing. That is where Kramaric wants to help.
I was looking for a program that would prepare me for leadership role in dispute resolution and in a wide range of disciplines requiring the effective management of conflict. I found it in the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation that is offered through ACU.
Called to be peacemakers
"There is a tremendous need for an expert on the field of conflict resolution and reconciliation in Croatia," Kramaric said. "Christians here do not know where to turn when they find themselves in a real conflict situation. The pastors and elders are not trained for those situations, and they act according to their own instincts. We need a person who will be able to teach people how to analyze, address and manage conflict effectively and professionally."
His desire to help his people is what brought him to ACU. Though he originally enrolled in the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program, he soon found the degree in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation would better fit his goals.
"Having this diploma will enable me to organize seminars, workshops, approach pastors and elders of different churches and offer professional help in the field of reconciliation and conflict resolution," Kramaric said. "The possibilities are really wide and diverse."
From atheism to Christianity
Raised as a hard worker, Kramaric was a successful student and studied to be a veterinary doctor. He earned the degree and respect among his fellow doctors, but it was not what he desired deep down.
Kramaric had been raised to believe there was no God, and that success was all that mattered.
"I was born into a family that did not believe in God," Kramaric said. "My parents were Communists and always taught me to believe in myself only. I was a good student and had enough money to live a hedonistic life. Deep down, I felt empty and miserable. After some time, I started contemplating suicide."
In the midst of his desperation and confusion, God sent Kramaric a friend from the other side of the world, Texas, to be exact.
"I met a young student missionary from Brownwood," Kramaric said. "We became best of friends, and he showed me the God I never thought existed. He opened the Bible for me for the first time in my life. I was stunned with Jesus' words, and my world turned upside down. After a long time of struggling with God, I finally gave up and admitted that He is the Creator."
A heart for his nation
Kramaric says he had many chances to start a successful career as a veterinarian, "but a war broke out, and our world crumbled before our own eyes. For the next four years, it all boiled down to a mere survival. I watched many of my friends go to the front only to come back in caskets," he recalled.
"At about the same time God started laying on my heart burden for my nation," he said. "God led me to a good church, and I started preaching regularly and leading worship.
"After the war the Trans World Radio (the biggest radio network in the world, transmitting Christian programs on more than 200 languages on all continents) approached me and offered me a position as head secretary in Croatia," he said.
Kramaric is hopeful that God will give him the opportunity to help his people end their constant struggle. "The enemy has succeeded to divert us from our true role in the society - we are called to be peacemakers," he said.
"I focus on testifying my faith to the lost and sharing the Gospel to anybody that is willing to hear it," Kramaric said. "God has led me this far, and I am willing to follow him to the end."