Published as part of FLARE‘s 9-5 series.

Where have you been posted? I was in Beirut, Lebanon for two years. My background is in human affairs, so I did quite a few deployments to disaster-affected areas such as Burma after Tropical Cyclone Nargis and Haiti after the country experienced four hurricanes in 2008. My job was to find out if and how Canada could help.

How is your role different when you are posted abroad? When I’m abroad or in one of our embassies, a big part of my job is being the Canadian presence, whether it’s at a workshop or public affairs event, and making sure that Canada has a face at the table for the discussions that are happening.

What do you like about working abroad? When I was posted in Beirut, I travelled to camps and was able to talk to refugees without the filter of news media, or however else you usually hear their stories. I met a Syrian woman who fled Homs, a city that’s been completely destroyed. She had no home to go back to and had brought her five kids to Lebanon. Her husband stayed behind to try and keep the business going, and they don’t know whether he is alive or dead, and she has to find a way to keep going. Making a connection person-to-person is one of those things that keeps you going in this type of work.

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