Class VII (2009-2010)

9. Zuzana Petovska

Sponsor Club: Kosice, Slovakia, District 2240

Zuzana Petovska (Zuska), is from the Slovak Republic, Bratislava and was sponsored by the Rotary Club in Kosice. Her host Rotary Club in Australia is the Rotary Club of Goodna. Zuska holds Masters Degree in Social Work from Comenius University in Bratislava and has been working for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1997.

Her professional engagement with UNHCR focused on operation's management in the National Office in Slovakia, and for the past two years, in the Regional Representation for Central Europe located in Budapest, Hungary. Jointly with the Protection Unit, she was involved in incorporating UNHCR policy priorities in regional operation plans and project descriptions. She cooperated closely with NGO implementing partners, carried out field visits and monitoring visits to the countries under the Regional Representation to monitor implementation of the projects. As a committee member under Border Monitoring Project, and Age, Gender and Diversity Participatory Assessment, she monitored Reception Refugee Centres, Detention Facilities and border points to determine the situation and the needs of persons of concern to UNHCR.

During the Applied Fieldwork Experience, Zuska has chosen to put in practice new knowledge and skills gained at UQ specifically related to conflict resolution, and decided to get involved in a Mediation project implemented in remote Indigenous community in the Tiwi Islands. Zuska spent two months living in Nguiu community, which was an innovative way on engaging with the community. Zuska was involved on a project aimed at construction of mediation services to enhance community life, safer community and enlarge the community's capacity to work with conflict skilfully. Zuska was working with Strong Womens' Group, Youth and Diversion and Development Unit, Catholic Care, Red Cross on developing educational material on mediation services and enlarging the community's access to, use and knowledge of Mediation. Zuska has built up professional and personal relationships and greatly enjoyed working and living in Nguiu. Zuska has in addition benefited from friendships and explored traditional stories and cultural happenings, arts, participated at ceremonies, hunting and explored natural surrounding and daily life of the contemporary liwi society.

Zuska is looking forward to returning to UNHCR in January 2011. As a candidate on International Professional Roster, she has already started exploring possibilities to engage in one of UNHCR’s field operations. International Studies and Peace and Conflict Resolution provided her with skills, that can be utilised by UNHCR in an office setting and in the field. In the mean time, she is planning to spend time with her sister and three nephews living in South Australia and explore the country a little more.