Annabel Boud's story

Annabel is from Australia and now lives and works in the UK.

AnnieAnnabel has been fortunate and intrepid enough to live in no less than four Commonwealth countries. Born in Australia to English parents, Annabel grew up in Sydney. Her parents migrated to Australia in the 1970s to take up positions working in universities.

After school, Annabel moved to the UK for a couple of years. Then, in 2006, she spotted a job ad for a role at University of the South Pacific in Fiji. “It was an opportunity I had to go for and I was lucky enough to be offered the role” says Annabel. She had a turbulent start to her Fijian life. She explains, “I moved to Fiji ten days before a military coup. It was a stressful time in the capital Suva, but the resilience of the people was inspiring and I was made to feel very welcome.”

Annabel decided to return to Australia five years later to undertake a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratisation. It was a joint programme between the University of Sydney and the University of Colombo. This gave her the opportunity to spend a fascinating six months living in Sri Lanka studying at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and undertaking an internship at the Women and Media Collective. She recalls, “The women I worked alongside were very inspiring, speaking truth to power and working tirelessly on projects such as increasing women’s representation at all levels of government.”

Now living and working in London, Annabel appreciates the benefits of her heritage, saying “Being a Commonwealth citizen has enabled me to move quite seamlessly between Australia, Fiji, Sri Lanka and the UK.” Annabel reflects that, “The common language and similarities in higher education systems that enabled my parents to adapt so well to life in Australia have also benefitted me in being able to move throughout the Commonwealth for work or study with ease.”

The major learning from these diverse experiences? Annabel replies, “I learned not to take anything that I have for granted; to be open to new experiences and points of view; and that life is short, so don’t sweat the small stuff.”

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