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Student story

Agnes Ade Ririn Dwi Haryani

20 July 2023

"This degree allows me to do crosscutting research with other fields of study..."


Studying towards a PhD in Disaster Risk and Resilience

Ririn's research in disaster resilience hopes to investigate and give acknowledgement to the types of leadership roles women have during disaster preparedness and response stages.

Before starting her PhD studies in New Zealand, Ririn had worked within United Nations Development Programmes and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA) Centre in Indonesia. Her experiences in disaster response and capacity-building project management inspired her to go onto postgraduate studies.

Beginning with a master's degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Melbourne, under an Australian Development Scholarship, Ririn was later presented with a New Zealand Aid ASEAN Scholarship for doctoral research at UC.

During her past work in Indonesia Ririn had collaborated with UC's disaster experts, and was motivated to continue working with them in the future.

"I had found that UC provided comprehensive academic courses with world-class academic resources, including lectures and facilities. Hence, when I got the opportunity to continue my education, I never hesitated to choose UC as my academic institution," she says.

"As a capacity building professional in disaster management, it requires an ongoing upgrade of skills and expertise. This degree allows me to do crosscutting research with other fields of study including disaster risk and resilience, gender studies, political science, and geography, to be able to get a better complete and comprehensive research result."

Her thesis examines the variety of leadership roles women have during disaster efforts in Indonesia and the Philippines, including historical, cultural, gendered, and geographic positions and the diversity of leadership skills they provide.

"Disaster Risk and Resilience is a complex field of study which covers both non-human and human elements. By taking a PhD in Disaster Risk and Resilience at UC, you ought to utilise the flexibility of this degree to stitch with various disciplines. However, it also requires rigorous plan, persistence, and commitment to do your research independently, therefore make sure that you do what you have passion about."

Ririn has managed the volume of work from studies with help from the UC community, including using the Academic Skills Centre, Student Care, and support from supervisors and fellow PhD students.

"PhD's are a lonely academic journey as we have to get used to independent research, however I managed to have a group of PhD students that care and support each other, both personally and academically," she says. "UC provides a complete access to books, journals, and many academic resources, and a reliable support system of academic supervisors who can guide my journey to finish this degree.

"I was also the vice president of Nusantara Indonesian Student Association (NuSA) in 2019. This club aims to introduce Indonesia culture to all UC students," she says.

Study in New Zealand has also meant being able to bring her family with her, which she says has shown to be a "family friendly country with high standards of life quality". Outside of studies, Ririn spends most of her time with her children, as well as learning Korean language.

After completing her PhD, Ririn hopes to continue on with her work in disaster risk management and empowered women.

"I would like to expand my career as a gender and disaster researcher, who is able to contribute to more disaster resilience in the ASEAN region by focusing on local knowledge for more sustainable gender outcomes."

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