Nationality

Indonesia

Education

Advanced degree in Political Science/ International Relations, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Languages

Indonesian, English, Russian, German

I began my early career working for the University of Indonesia until I became inspired to work on the projects of UN-HABITAT and the United Nations Development Programme in Jakarta. A visit by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme chief in 1991 to our project to promote the spirit of volunteerism had a big influence on my future career. Instead of being office-based, I wondered how I could better apply my knowledge and skills from studying political science and international relations. I was certain I could find a career that would be a great fit for my background and skills.

Subsequently, I was recruited to join UNV in Cambodia
to work on the 1993 elections. I grasped this opportunity with both hands and couldn’t wait to take up my new tasks and responsibility. I was enthusiastic about helping people in Cambodia acquire a good government through free, fair and transparent elections. Since then, I knew that working in the electoral field for the UN was going to be my future.

I have an adventurous spirit and love travelling. Working in different field missions has given me the opportunity to satisfy my passion and most importantly, to help local people effect the good governance they deserve. Raising awareness about forthcoming elections is a unique and interesting aspect of the job. I never think about doing anything else!

Electoral experts face challenges in many respects throughout all electoral stages. One of the biggest challenges is to deal effectively with local administrative officials, authorities and leaders. There are numerous social and political groups, as well as village, tribal, and religious communities that need civic and voter education as well as security provisions for the electoral process and the field teams that also need to be considered. Cooperation with other United Nations entities in the mission can also be challenging. Despite any obstacles we may face, there is tremendous satisfaction when all the preparations for elections have been completed, the poll workers are ready to open the polling stations on election day, and we see voters cast their votes. With the announcement of the counting results, we witness the people elect their new leaders. It’s an amazing feeling to watch democracy in action on the ground.

Working in the field has broadened my mind and strengthened my skills and knowledge in an enriching way that is just not possible in the classroom. There is no replacement for hands-on experience. Taking time to ensure continued professional development through training opportunities provided locally by the training section and the Organization is also an important element.

My role offers frequent opportunities to move beyond Headquarters to different urban and rural areas in order to understand the issues faced by the field offices, which is a great experience. You always get to learn about new things, such as local traditions, cultural activities, and expectations about the elections. Regular meetings with heads of electoral offices help us understand their challenges, and together we devise ways to conduct the election appropriately. It really is a team effort. My career working on electoral matters in peace operations has helped me acquire a better understanding of people and the problems they face on the ground, and to carry out my responsibilities with pride as an international civil servant.

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