My association with the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) started while I was still at university in December of 2003. Having just finished my Bachelor of Arts: Asian Studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), I was looking for something to increase my contact with the international relations community.
Motivated by my acceptance into the Masters of International Relations program, again at the UNSW, I searched Sydney for a group that I could become a part of that would inform me and provide me with contacts. When I found the AIIA, I could not believe the consistent dealings I would have with current and former members of DFAT, ONA, UN, amongst many other “acronyms’. More importantly, the content of the events was intriguing. It was the first time I had been granted access to informed, experienced and educated people from within the international relations sphere. The doors of this world were now opened to me.
Rather than just show up, I immediately put up my hand to help run events and do office administration under the watchful eye of Louisa Graham (the Executive Officer of the NSW branch). This in turn opened more doors for me to members on the council and to the event speakers.
My involvement in the AIIA took a giant leap forward in March of 2004 when I founded ACCESS along with a group of like minded individuals. To ensure smooth communication with the council concerning the events and developments of ACCESS, I was elected to joined the NSW branch board.
Through out my involvement with the council I have consistently done my part in moving the organisation forward. This position offered me the opportunity to gain the experiences associated with being on the board of a not for profit organisation, and through my positions on both the speakers committee and the website development committee, to participate in the day to day affairs of the branch.
With the international relations community now open to me, the connections and contacts that I made during this period continue to be very valuable. Representing ACCESS and the AIIA, I have attended many events at organisations such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) the Lowy Institute for International Policy and SafeGuarding Australia. I was also very privileged to attend the APEC Second Track Dialogue in Melbourne in 2007.
I will always be grateful for the development and experiences I had at the AIIA, and the support of those around me. Those experiences are now the platform from which I will start the next stage of my career and life.
Engaged in group management, budget consultations, event management and planning future directions of the organisation.
Increased the number of younger members attending AIIA events, ensuring the growth and survival of this important institution.
Liaison between ACCESS and the council, enabling the promotion of new directions and potential solutions to existing issues.