A Short Biography: Ninawa Younan

image001.jpgMigration and Cultural Background
My parents arrived in Australian in 1988 two years after I was born in Hasske, Syria. My father Anderyos Younan and mother Widade Younan decided to leave Syria in search of a better life for themselves and the children they were bringing into this world. I grew up in a typical Assyrian household, going to Sunday school, celebrating cultural and religious events and eating a lot of ‘prakhee’ (rice wrapped up in vine leaves). With two brothers and two sisters, life was never boring or quiet, we would always have relatives over for ‘chai’ and sweets, and talk of politics was always rife with my father and his friends. So I grew up listening to Middle Eastern politics and learning about our own suffrage, the suffrage of the Assyrian people. I took an interest in archaeology and genocide throughout high school, amazed at the creations of the Assyrian Kings thousands of years ago and distraught about the mass atrocities that occurred against the Assyrian people during 1914-1919.
The Area of Criminology
During VCE I took an interest in Psychology but its abnormal and forensic side and Law but its criminal side and came to the conclusion that Criminology was the perfect study area for me. After completed high school in 2003 I commenced a Bachelor of Social Science degree majoring in Criminal Justice. Studying subject areas like youth crime, drugs and justice, crime prevention, comparative criminal justice system, hate crimes and terrorism. I graduated in 2006 and commenced a Master of Criminology degree at the University of Melbourne and it was during that time that I undertook an Internship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (see below). Subject’s areas were more political, having studied United Nations reform, Global Criminology and Corruption. I recently graduated from the University of Melbourne, in March 2011.

image002.jpgUnited Nations Internship Programme (2009 – 2010)
I was one of two full time interns at the New York Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and worked under supervision from August 2009 to January 2010. The New York Office of UNODC deals with a wide range of issues critical to achievement of security and justice, and acts as the link between UNODC Headquarters in Vienna and UN Headquarters in New York.

I commenced my internship during a busy timeframe with the 64th session of the General Assembly taking place, the organisation of a high profile book panel event that featured author/journalist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn upon the release of their book, ‘Half the Sky’ and the appointment of actor/humanitarian Nicholas Cage as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador.
I gained much from the six month internship including awareness of the various issues that are currently on the agenda at the United Nations, the need for collaborative work between countries in order to prevent and combat crimes that cross borders, networking with professionals from various countries and educational backgrounds, realisation that I am quite interested in the area of human trafficking and a new found confidence in myself and the direction I am heading.
This was an experience of a lifetime!
Where to from here!
I am quite interested in International Politics and its relationship to Global Criminology and what International Organisations and State are doing to prevent protect and prosecute especially in the area of Terrorism, Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking and State perpetrated crimes.