#WeAreElliott: Sandy Maroun

Blog_ #WAE Maroun

Sandy Maroun will be graduating with her Master of International Policy and Practice this Friday! She concentrated in refugee policy and programs, climate change and conflict resolution. In addition, she has a Master of Communication and Media, a BA in Political Science and a BA in Journalism, all completed in her home country of Lebanon. She currently works as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Beirut, where she generated analysis and reports on the humanitarian situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In addition to Lebanon, Sandy has worked in Nepal as part of the emergency response following the earthquakes in 2015, and in north Greece, as part of the humanitarian refugee response in 2016. Sandy enjoys learning about and debating current events, traveling, and meeting and working with people from different cultures.

When did you realize you wanted an international career?

I realized I wanted an international career when I was working for international humanitarian and development agencies in Lebanon and got exposed to the programs and interventions the organizations I worked for implemented in different contexts to support vulnerable communities. This is when I decided that I wanted to work in different contexts and have a diverse experience, by seeking an international career.

Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I currently work as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer (HAO) at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Beirut. I would imagine myself, in 10 years, working for the UN somewhere, anywhere. It could possibly be in Geneva or in New York or even in the field.

What tools/strategies have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?

At the Elliott School, it is important to meet new people, interesting ones, and have a good connection with them and share with them academic and career interests. It is also important to attend events such as conferences, talks, discussions, debate, etc. which allow students to learn about myriad subjects.  I found it useful to engage in conversations and discussions, whether in class or outside it about academic subjects, rather than stay passive. And of course, it is definitely crucial to read the learning material and generate high-quality paper and assignment.

What advice do you have for students for staying motivated at work or in class?

I would advise students to keep thinking about the future and remain focused on their ultimate goal, and which is getting their degree with the maximum learning and benefit that they could get, rather than getting swamped and overwhelmed and frustrated about the load of work. I would also advise them to enjoy grad school as much as they could, enjoy every single moment, every event, every discussion, debate, etc. and make the best out of it! I believe as soon as grad school finishes, we will all miss it and miss the time we were at it.

If you could have a parade on any day for any occasion, what would your parade be for?

My parade would celebrate the end of poverty and misery of all human beings and life in dignity.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current Elliott School graduate students and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.