My PhD with SPIR has been transformative and paved the way for professional opportunities and amazing life experiences.
My thesis examines the role of young people in creating sustainable peace, using a case study of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
In early 2014, I left Australia for Jordan and OPT to undertake field research. During my year of fieldwork I developed confidence, initiative, planning and organizational skills. And I became acutely familiar with key protection issues specific to the Middle East, and with the politically charged and contested environment surrounding refugee rights issues. I found myself in the heart of the humanitarian response for Syrian and Palestinian refugees where I established strong networks with displaced people and the international actors assisting them.
This experience has not only been personally enriching but extremely valuable to both my academic and professional development.
Jordan currently hosts around 660,000 Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and 2.2 million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Near East (UNRWA). Thousands more live in the country without registration or legal status. Children under 18 years of age are a large part of the community, accounting for more than half of the total refugee population. This demographic phenomenon known as the ‘youth bulge’ manifests across the region and is often linked to increased security risks and political instability.
In 2015, I took part in the Amman Youth Peace and Security conference which led to the recently adopted United Nations Resolution 2250 that seeks to transforms the narrative and encourage young people to harness their peacebuilding capacities. I then went to work for an International Non Governmental Organization (INGO) focused on child protection, implementing projects in Jordan, Syria, and the OPT. After a year, I moved on to a second INGO where I now work as the Protection Program Manager, overseeing a multidisciplinary team of 30+ staff providing protection and humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees along the border regions.
This flexibility has been greatly appreciated and enabled me to embrace the various opportunities that arose for me through my PhD with ANU.
This experience has not only been personally enriching but extremely valuable to both my academic and professional development. The relevance of my thesis topic and the knowledge I have gained through it have positioned me well in my professional work and life. At the same time, the perspective and interactions I gain through my work is providing deeper insight on the same key issues at play in my PhD research, which will ultimately see me submit a more meaningful and scholarly thesis in 2019.
The ongoing mentorship from my supervisor Dr Kim Huynh and the support of SPIR, have been crucial to my experience. With their support and approval, I changed my candidature status to a part-time external student. I regularly liaise with Dr Huynh who provides me ongoing feedback and advice, and the SPIR team are always available to support and answer my queries from a distance. This flexibility has been greatly appreciated and enabled me to embrace the various opportunities that arose for me through my PhD with ANU.
Where will an ANU degree in Politics and International Relations take you?