Emilia Micunovic

BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response. Graduated 2021.

What course did you study and why?

I studied BSc International Disaster Management & Humanitarian Response, with Arabic as a minor. I chose the course because of its interdisciplinary nature. It allowed me to think creatively in exploring how seemingly unrelated theories may work with one another to explain events. I was also keen to undertake courses where the reading lists included voices from the global South as opposed to the same, recurring European (male) names.

The choice to study a language as a minor subject is fantastic. I knew that it would open many doors if I could speak Arabic – or at least make for a more enriching experience were I to travel to an Arabic-speaking country at any point in my life!

What is your current role and what do you enjoy most about it?

I'm the UK Media Officer for The ONE Campaign. I love how exciting PR can be. Meeting with journalists to explain policy products can be really fun, and I'm lucky to have entered an organisation at a time where amplifying African voices has been one of the main objectives. The best part of my job is working with African colleagues on getting stories and policy products out to UK media.

What are one of the most challenging parts of your role and why?

PR is a challenge, but I enjoy it because it wasn't something I considered or studied at university. I started fresh out of university, with a breadth of knowledge, thinking everyone would be on board in supporting the many discourses and development issues that I studied. The reality of my job is trying to communicate policy to the public and the government. Tailoring policy and messaging for a mostly right-wing audience is difficult, but I've understood that by working in the third sector, maintaining the visibility (and credibility) of large organisations means balancing idealism with practicality.

How have the skills and knowledge gained on the course helped you in your current role/career progression?

I wanted to learn about the different solutions to problems caused by politics, the environment, and so on. I felt like studying Politics or History would have left an open end to my university experience, and I would have ultimately wanted to learn how people wanted to mitigate crises caused by these subjects. This course allowed me to provide practical solutions and other ideas to my job.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

At university, I highly recommend getting involved in something on the side, be it volunteering or campaigning for something you feel passionate about. Although unpaid, you gain a huge amount of practical skills that workplaces ultimately seek when choosing applicants for positions.