Claire Smith

Postgraduate student

Development Studies
Development Studies

Development Studies.

Politics, Presidents, Perth and Paris.

Working as a Political Advisor for the United States Consulate General really opened Claire Smith’s eyes to the challenges faced by developing countries. She knew she had to help tackle climate change issues in these regions.

With public policy and international affairs increasingly on the global agenda, Claire wanted to learn more than just theory. “I was drawn to Murdoch because it has a unique teaching style which offers a bit of theory but is also very applied and interactive. I like that Murdoch is a progressive university that is adaptive and up with the times.”

Claire became the inaugural winner of Murdoch’s Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship, which gave her the unique opportunity to attend the COP 21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. There she heard dozens of heads of state from around the world speak about climate change and how it affects their countries. Rubbing shoulders with Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin put a new perspective on her studies.

“As well as being sandwiched between Kevin Rudd and Al Gore, a real highlight was our meeting with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

“We had an amazing discussion on human rights, the environment and climate justice in the context of COP 21 and beyond”.

The entire trip was an experience of a lifetime. It was humbling, inspiring, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

Both COP 21 in Paris, and high-level seminars with Julie Bishop and other senior ministers in Canberra, have helped Claire as she works toward a Master of Development Studies, where she is focusing on the use of ‘green bonds’ as one tool to help the private sector combat climate change.

“This experience was integrated into my coursework at Murdoch. Climate change is a cross-cutting issue that has played a role in all of my classes because all issues related to sustainable development are affected by climate change, such as gender equality, food security, and the global economy.”