Nationality

Indonesia

Education

Master's Degree in Applied Finance, University of Melbourne, Australia

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Languages

Bahasa Indonesia, English

Ever since I was a young child, I have been fascinated by numbers. I like to know that there is a clear, solid answer to a problem. I suppose you could say that is the driving force behind my extensive career with the United Nations- finding a clear, solid answer to a pressing issue. Most people think all accountants do all day is sit behind a desk and work on a computer and calculator. If pressed for an honest answer, most people might even assume our lives can be quite mundane. I have realised, however, the work of an accountant with the United Nations is anything but routine.

I joined the United Nations in 2003 as a Finance Officer. During the summer of 2006, the conflict between Lebanon and Israel broke out. I happened to be assigned to the duty station in Beirut, Lebanon at the time and I was working as an Associate Finance Officer with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

This mission was exceptionally challenging. At the time, I happened to be the Officer-in-Charge for the Budget and Finance Section. I never expected to be caught in an actual war zone. I oversaw an evacuation. As the evacuation process had many financial implications, I was requested to stay until all other staff members had left. It was during this time I realized I had to draw on all of my inner strength because I was about to be professionally tested like never before. I now approach my work with an entirely renewed appreciation for the solutions our budgets are essentially putting into effect.

Arranging the financial logistics for a United Nations evacuation process can be extraordinarily challenging. During the evacuation process, we needed to arrange for the buses to evacuate the international staff to Jordan, arrange for their evacuation allowance, and liaise with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jordan to assist us in flying people back to their home countries. Quite honestly, the most pressing issue was the knowledge that human lives were on the line with every evacuation decision we made. You had to be quick and to think on your feet. There was no time for second-guessing. Fortunately, we were successful in our evacuation procedures. All essential staff safely reached Vienna, and all non-essential staff made it back to their home countries.

I find satisfaction in knowing that whether it is a review of a mission’s peacekeeping budget, or a reimbursement of troop costs, or certification of payments, I am in a way making a positive impact on our world. It is always inspiring to know there is a meaning in what you are doing, no matter how small your role. It is also deeply satisfying to be able to know at least one correct answer amidst the complexity of other equations.

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