Vujity Tvrtko, a Hungarian broadcast journalist and alumnus of the University of Miami graduate school, returned to campus for the first time since 1997 to discuss his experiences traveling the world as an international journalist.
Tvrtko has traveled many countries. He has journeyed to devastation Romania, where he saw the destruction of villages from an ethic cleansing campaign, and Chernobyl in the Ukraine, the largest deserted city in the world from radiation.
He said his goal is to “go places no one can get to,” while educating and touching the lives of many.
Through all of his experiences, he said UM had a huge impact on his life, coming from a small country of about 10 million people with a closed society and no opportunity to study journalism. When he came to UM it was the first time in his life he experienced something that was different and even learned English during his short time in Miami. He was very proud to be a student because it was a place where he was accepted, and since he left always felt he should give back.
“The United States and the University of Miami was a new country, new influence and a new opportunity,” he said.
Tvrtko wondered at one point why he received a scholarship to attend and UM. He said that they told him, when asked by his fellow Hungarians where he received his education, he would say UM.
When he graduated, Tvtrko said that he told Sanjeev Chatterjee, an associate professor in the School of Communication, that he would return.
“Once in my life I have to come back to the University of Miami, and represent the university and the United States of America,” Tvrtko said in 1997.
Chatterjee, who never had Tvrtko as a student, opened his home to the Hungarian in 1996. “He is an extraordinary, brilliant young man, focused, very sure of himself and what he wants, something you don’t see that much,” Chatterjee said.
The two have remained good friends and worked together on a movie, “One World”. Tvrtko produced the European portion of the film that was seen in 14 countries.
The 34-year-old began as a coal miner like his father and slowly moved in to the world of journalism in his early 20s. He began as an intern for a Hungarian television crew in Yugoslavia in what proved to be the start of his career as a journalist and later as a best-selling author who has sold over 390,000 copies of his books.
Tvrtko has written six books and reported documentaries from Russia to Africa and Australia, and fans consider him the man that brings perspective, personal happiness and passion to his work.
“I am not looking for sufferers, I am looking for heroes,” he said regarding how he can touch the heart of many people with the darkest and most shocking footage.
Tvrtko has seen how the the Communist Party and poverty in North Korea affect the lives of normal people in that country and seen as well as a devastating earthquake in Columbia.
But the one story that touched the Hungarian journalist the most was when he found the last prisoner of war from World War II, Andras Toma. Toma, who went missing for half a century, was forced to live as a patient in a mental hospital in Tatarstan for 53 years in the former Soviet Union. Tvrtko said he was able to suppress his emotions and continue to do his job in the face of such a situation.
“Every story teaches me something, it’s not about me but how I can help other people,” he said
Tvrtko currently lives in Hungary with his wife, Gyongyi, of seven years and his two sons, ages four and five.
Danielle Bailey may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.