2013 Greg Urwin Awardee interview
Today we feature 2013 Greg Urwin Awards (GUA) recipient Meriam Seth. The GUA enabled Meriam who is currently employed by Biosecurity Vanuatu to undertake her placement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji.
“My placement at SPC was relevant because to my line of work and they also support the work we do at Biosecurity Vanuatu,” she explained,
Meriam holds undergraduate qualifications in Agriculture and was offered an Australian government scholarship to undertake a Masters in Plant Health and Biosecurity at the University of Adelaide. As she was completing her Masters in 2011, Meriam received the Australian Prime Minister’s Pacific-Australia (PMPA) Award which provided her with a work placement with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Biosecurity Unit in Brisbane and Cairns.
According to Meriam, the GUA has provided many opportunities, “Apart from the technical aspect of my work I was able to build my confidence and network. After my post grad studies, I was appointed Acting Director and at my first meeting I was the only woman in attendance, I was very young and the only one at that level. Although I was qualified I was nervous.”
The award came in at the right time, “While with SPC I was able to carry out out technical laboratory analysis and participate in meetings which built my confidence and I gained the knowledge and skills required in that leadership field,” said Meriam.
Her placement at SPC enabled her to participate in regional and international biosecurity conferences, ” I learnt a lot and networked with my peers. I can confidently say that I acquired a new skill set that complements my education and work experience. “
“The GUA was not only for me and my family but for my country. I will be able to implement the Biosecurity Framework, updating of databases and systems in strengthening and improving border security while facilitating international trade. “
Meriam said selecting the right organisation to complete a placement is essential, “The work I did at SPC is relevant to Biosecurity Vanuatu and our role in preventing pests and diseases entry into Vanuatu. I was able to go back home with a Database and computer provided by SPC- to be able to train staff in Luganville and Vila.”
Meriam was the first Ni-Vanuatu awardee since the GUA commenced in 2008, grateful for the opportunity she encouraged others to apply, particularly women.