Aishath Aileen Niyaz

Name: Aishath Aileen Niyaz
Age: 35
Nationality: Maldives

Bachelor of Arts (Communication/ International Studies) 2011

Tell us briefly about your work or role in your current organisation.

I am currently employed as Assistant Director at the Climate Change Department of Ministry of Environment and Energy in Maldives. My work is focused on climate finance. This includes mobilising resources for climate adaptation and mitigation projects in the Maldives, as well as working with national institutions towards accreditation to multilateral climate change funds.

At the international level, I am involved in negotiating climate finance issues on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States at the United Nations. I was a member of the team that successfully negotiated the Paris Agreement on climate change, where I worked to ensure that the priorities of small island states were reflected in the final agreement. I also currently serve as Advisor to the Alternate Board Member from Asia Pacific Region to the Green Climate Fund, established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate.

How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?

Studying in Monash changed my world views entirely. What I appreciate most is that Monash taught me to think critically, and to use my own analytical skills to analyse information presented to me and make my own judgements, rather than to consume what is presented to me without question.

Monash also taught me to respect and understand the different worldviews of people from diverse cultures. Studying in Monash made me appreciate how different individual experiences shape each person’s perceptions, and therefore each person’s views are as valid as the next person’s. This has helped me very much in my current negotiation work, to understand the different viewpoints of people coming from diverse backgrounds.

Less than two years after graduating from Monash, I was awarded the British Chevening Scholarship to undertake a MSc Development Studies course at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. I believe that my Monash degree was instrumental in the decision to award me this scholarship.

When you were choosing a course and a university did you have a clear picture of your future (and if so what was it)? How did that change (or reconfirmed) during your experience at Monash?

I knew that I wanted to study international studies and that I wanted to build a career in multilateral cooperation to address environmental issues. To achieve this, I wanted to attend a university that was recognised worldwide for quality education which was also affordable. The Bachelor of Arts course at Monash ticked all these boxes perfectly, and I have never regretted my decision to study there.

I never expected my study in Monash to be so intellectually stimulating and interesting at the same time. I loved the course from day one. With no prior experience in university, I was expecting a vocational mode of study, but rather, Monash taught me to think for myself, think critically, and make my own judgements through analysis.

What was it about Monash that made you select this university in the first place?

The reason I chose Monash was that it offered the program I wanted to study, at an institution recognised globally for quality education, which was also affordable on the budget available to me.

What do you love most about your student life at Monash?

I loved the student culture in Monash. So many clubs and facilities exist that I’m sure there are ones to suit everyone’s interests. The university also accommodates student activism on political issues, which I found very interesting.

I also loved the location of Monash in Sunway. It had everything I needed. Living was affordable, there was always plenty of things to do for entertainment, and I loved the cuisine and shopping in Malaysia. Malaysia is also a beautiful country and holidays in nice places were always easily within reach.