She describes herself as a growing up a nomad and someone who is curious about the world and has yet to set any roots. The entire world is her home.
Rayna Breuer was named after the Bulgarian national heroine Raina, who fought for freedom during the Russo-Turkish wars and sewed the first Bulgarian flag in 1876. With that name, her parents passed on a sense of political and social engagement.
Breuer was born in Burgas on the Black Sea and she spent her childhood years in Potsdam and Bonn. Her father’s career meant that the family was always on the move between Bulgaria, Germany and Croatia. In the space of 12 years she attended eight different schools. "It wasn’t always easy, but in retrospect it's really nice because I now have friends in every country," she says.
The journalist grew up in a rapidly changing region during a politically turbulent time. The 1990s were decisive years for Europe and she spent them moving between the east and west. "The news was always on at home from the morning to the evening, which definitely had an influence on me." Studying political science in Bonn was an easy choice for Breuer. Her academic career was spent in Bonn and Sussex, where she studied international relations. She also studied European Union law and Southeastern European legal systems in the Austrian city of Graz.
Breuer gained her first professional experience at the United Nations in Bonn and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. When she was an ambitious political science student, Breuer’s role model was Raliza Vasiljeva, a CNN correspondent during the Balkan Wars. "I still admire her very much," says Breuer. Being close to people is what this young journalist finds most interesting about her profession.
Her career as a journalist began with DW’s Southeastern Europe service. Later she wrote for the Bonn student radio "Sternwarte" as well as for the EU website, europa-digital.de. After a successful traineeship at DW, Breuer remained committed as always and now she covers economic and political issues.
The 30-year old Breuer got her diverse sense of interest and her openness towards people by following the example of her parents. Somewhere along the way they also gave her a sense of social responsibility. She was already actively involved in social projects during her studies. For her it is important, "to give something back to the society in which you live."
In the Rhineland, Breuer has finally settled down and is now a mother to a little son. Still, this globetrotter is gripped by wanderlust now and again and there is only one thing that helps – planning the next trip, whether it is a family vacation or a research trip for DW. Planned destinations so far for 2014 are Sarajevo, Kiev and Porto. She lives the life that she learned as a child; different countries, interesting people and setting new goals.
Breuer recently returned from Hungary, where she worked on the DW project, Secrets of Transformation, that observed current developments in the country. The project, based on the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI), measures how positively or negatively a country has politically and economically transformed. The major long-term winners and losers were highlighted out of a massive amount of BTI data. Breuer then went on an exciting multimedia search to find potential "secrets" of successful or failed transformation processes.
Text: Elena Isayenko
Edited by: Adelheid Lucas
Translated by: Wesley Rahn