Master’s Degree in International Law, Vilnius University, Lithuania
Lithuanian, English, German, Russian
One of the most gratifying aspects of being a Civil Affairs Officer is that there is always room to learn and grow. In Darfur, I worked on conflict resolution and reconciliation. Among my tasks, a key objective was to identify, mitigate and prevent areas of potential clashes. When tribal conflicts occurred, I worked on reaching a ceasefire agreement and bringing feuding tribes to the reconciliation table. The most challenging part was to understand the real cause of the conflict and the longstanding grievances that can fuel recurring conflicts.
This was an incredibly intense learning period. It was not always easy for the tribal leaders I worked with to accept a much younger woman coming from a totally different part of the world who was trying to assist them in reaching a ceasefire agreement. I had to gain their trust and confidence.
I have tremendous respect for people affected by conflict for their resilience, incredible support to each other, and strong belief in a better future. Before any humanitarian assistance reached them, the displaced people would already be sharing what little they had. On many levels, I think I received much more than I was able to give them. My work taught me to listen, to observe and to be persistent in what I was doing; these are principles I apply every day.
Prior to my assignment in Darfur, I coordinated humanitarian assistance in Liberia. We were in the region close to the border with Côte d’Ivoire at a time when cholera outbreaks were the worst crises we had to manage. A dedicated team from United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes worked in the region, which enabled us to provide humanitarian assistance to the most remote villages. We also benefitted from exceptionally good relations with the Civil-Military Coordination Team. Together we conducted several large outreach missions to the most remote areas of the country to provide health services and malaria prevention kits. Saving someone’s life after a complicated medical evacuation provided fulfilment, satisfaction and reassurance that I was on the right path in life.
In my work, I am often exposed to incredible first-hand encounters with different cultures and historical events. I feel privileged that I am able to contribute to rebuilding post-conflict countries locally. After almost seven years in Africa, I moved to Afghanistan, a fascinating country with a breathtaking landscape, glorious history, wonderful handicrafts and incredible hospitality. I work as a team leader in one of the provinces in the northern region, where I provide support to the Provincial Governor’s office and line departments. I also engage with civil society organizations, particularly women organizations. I prefer to look at the positive achievements that are evident in this country such as the thousands of students, including girls, who are enrolled in the schools and universities, the significant increase in life expectancy, and a poverty level that is gradually reducing. My mission in life is to contribute to making the world we all share a better place.