“All things are ready, if our mind be so.”
―William Shakespeare, Henry V
Before the actual mobilisation for any of my international assignments I had done a great deal of preparation. In fact, I consider preparation as a major part of the mobilisation process. I always turn to these trusted tools and resources:
- Recent news and reports form the region, including media and official briefings (government and multilateral organisations)
- Publications such as books, travel diaries, memoirs of public figures who have served in my mission’s region, as well as novels and other works of art throughout the region’s history
- Networks of family and friends, my school and university alumni with ties to the region as well as work colleagues and past deployees/diplomats who have served in the region
My deployment to Ethiopia takes me to a region I have never been before. I have worked in Africa, in the Middle East and the Pacific with UNHCR and UNICEF before and this experience has given me a good understanding of what I need to research, learn and plan for my next mission.
So far, I have read more than 100 news links, media articles and official reports on the recent conflict in Tigray, borrowed over 20 books from the libraries on Ethiopian history, culture and traditions, spoken to a number of people with ties to the region and will be attending a series of official briefings with my deployment officer and other regional experts.
It so happens, that one of my neighbours has three children adopted from Ethiopia and we have connected recently on a local walk. It is so comforting to know people with close links to Ethiopia. We already had a couple of lovely morning teas, swapped stories and books. What’s more, thanks to the Flinders Alumni Office, I also met an Ethiopian Flinders University Academic who has been kind enough to chat with me and exchange important contacts on the ground. Serendipity or is “good preparation a better chance for a miracle”?