Dedicated to helping refugees

Alumni essay

Andrew Harper AO, BA ’87, ANU International Alumnus of the Year 2018, is Head of Programs for the UN Refugee Agency in Geneva, overseeing the agency’s refugee camps. He has dedicated his career to helping refugees and those suffering in the face of natural disasters, including leading the international response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan.

Andrew’s sister, Virginia Harper, shares her perspective on the impact the boy from a sheep farm in Wagga has had on the world.

For many years our family only had a rough understanding of what Andrew was doing overseas.

He was working with refugees in Iran, Central Asia, East and West Timor, the Crimean and the Balkans and spent most of the last decade dealing with the horrific consequences of the wars in Iraq and Syria.For the most part we received sporadic, highly edited and family friendly versions of where he was, although I did also receive several phone calls where I could hear tanks and missiles in the background. On those occasions, Andrew would say to me: “Just don’t tell mum”.