Dr Jacqueline Parry

Dr Jacqueline Parry

Recently we caught up with Dr Jacqueline Parry who is an alumni of the UNE School of Law.

Dr Jacqueline ParryJacqueline started her graduate law degree after completing a degree in classical music (piano) at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Jacqueline chose to complete her UNE law degree online as she wanted to continue working and not move from where she was living.

Jacqueline found online study worked really well for her as the resources were comprehensive and UNE was very accommodating of her needs. For example, in the last two years of her degree when Jacqueline was working in Indonesia, she could log onto online tutorials from Lombok or Tanjung Pinang and then sit her exams at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

Whilst completing her law degree Jacqueline was able to secure a job at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an intern in 2006, based in Canberra. Later in 2007 she joined UNHCR Jakarta as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. She ended up spending 3 years in Indonesia with UNHCR, and then undertook other deployment with UNHCR in Jordan, Malawi and Afghanistan.

In 2016, Jacqueline completed a PhD in international law at the Australian National University, under the tutelage of Profession Hilary Charlesworth. Her topic was ‘Transitional justice and displacement: lessons from Liberia and Afghanistan’ and it looked at the ways refugees are engaged in transitional justice, and how this can support reconciliation, accountability and sustainable refugee return.

RefugeesSince graduating from her PhD Jacqueline joined the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Iraq as a conflict analyst. This role is not directly legal, although human rights law and international humanitarian law underpin her work. In particular Jacqueline works with internally displaced Iraqis and their host communities, with projects related to infrastructure, livelihoods and social services, with a key focus on social cohesion and conflict management.

Jacqueline notes she has a passion for this kind of work as refugees often find themselves in situations they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect –

‘I imagine myself in their situation, and how I would feel and react. The ability to move freely, in a safe way, is one of the most important methods people use to protect themselves and their families. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate to grow up as a woman in Australia, with a supportive family and access to great education – had my situation been different, I may well be seeking safety elsewhere too. I also believe there is a lot that individuals and governments can do to create safe and orderly migration paths that protect vulnerable people.’

IraqApparently Iraq is more similar to Australia than you would think. Iraqis are very sociable and have a similar sense of humour to Australians. For example, sarcasm is well understood in Iraq. Education is also highly valued in Iraq – parents will make huge efforts to ensure their children go to school, and Iraqis often continue studying and learning after their formal schooling is complete. There is a similar urban/rural contrast – cities like Baghdad or Sulaymaniyah have vibrant social scenes not unlike Sydney or other Australian cities, but then outside the cities there is a strong agricultural sector as well.

There are lots of social activities in Iraq. Jacqueline notes Iraqis are very outgoing and have great food, so there are lots of good restaurants. In Kurdistan (northern Iraq) there is great hiking and places for picnics.