Abbie YunitaUniversity degree(s)/Institution:
Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), Monash University.
Specialisations: International Studies, Geography and Environmental Science.

Career (last few roles/organisations, or your main or favourite):
Intern, United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID);
Research Assistant and Teaching Associate, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies;
Teaching Associate, Centre for Geography and Environmental Science.

Career Highlight:
Doing an internship with UNORCID is definitely a highlight. I grew up near a biodiversity hotspot in Indonesia and wrote my honours thesis on the implementation of REDD+, an initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Aceh and Central Kalimantan. I’m now based in Jambi, one of Indonesia’s REDD+ provinces in Sumatra. It is a truly eye-opening experience. It can get overwhelming to actually witness the state of forests and forest-dependent communities in Jambi, and I feel very fortunate to be learning more about something I care for.

Another highlight would be teaching first year units in International Studies and Human Geography at Monash University. It was an absolute pleasure to engage with new university students, stimulate discussions and observe their learning process. It was also fantastic to learn from and work with some of the most supportive and excellent academics at Monash.

What was your first job?
I got my first job when I was 16, at a market food stall in Armidale, New South Wales. I loved this job because of the vibrancy of the market environment and its importance in enhancing relationships in the community. Getting to know some local producers has also made me a better consumer.

How have the humanities helped you in your career?
The work I’m engaged in at the moment is very complex, riddled with conflicting and incomplete information. The humanities has given me a solid foundation to see things more holistically, to be critical and to communicate clearly and meaningfully. One of the most valuable outcomes of studying the humanities is the willingness to observe human experiences with an open mind and occasionally challenge preconceived views. This openness, together with critical analysis and effective communication, have benefited both my past and current work, from hospitality to teaching to working with the UN.

Why do you think the humanities matter today?
The humanities help to foster tolerance and solidarity by encouraging people to understand different histories and perspectives. They emphasise the need to integrate knowledge from diverse fields to harness ideas for innovation, gain new insights and understand the past and present for a better future. As such, they are essential to any pursuit or discipline.

What are you reading?
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.

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