Merit Hietanen

Operations Support Officer, UNRWA
Year(s):
2008
-
09

I have been working with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees) for the last 5 years in the Middle East. Currently, I am based in Jordan as an Operations Support Officer focusing on protection and neutrality of Palestine refugees. Previously, I was based in Gaza for almost four years, where I worked as the Gender Officer among other roles. During the conflict in Gaza in 2014, I was coordinating all water distributions as well as the general WASH response to the emergency shelters for some 300,000 IDPs and continued with a role coordinating protection in the shelters in the post-conflict situation.

Before and after graduation I worked for the Refugee Advice Centre in Finland and the Refugee and Migrant Justice in the UK, both organisations that provide legal aid to asylum seekers and other migrants.

Before starting my studies at ODID, I had already engaged in work with asylum seekers and refugees. My interests had for long converged between environmental issues and forced migration and hence the course in RSC allowed me to dive into research on environmentally displaced persons.

The MSc Forced Migration profoundly expanded my theoretical understanding of displacement and migration and gave me a robust base upon which to build my practical expertise in the field. I feel the course provided me with important understanding of displacement that is fundamental to understand each context I work in. Furthermore, I built lasting friendships with other students whom I have been able to turn to for peer support, advice and with some of whom I have worked with. They also provide a lovely social network to bump into around the world.

The MSc in Forced Migration profoundly expanded my theoretical understanding of displacement and migration and gave me a robust base upon which to build my practical expertise in the field.