The reality of being a war survivor, of surviving all kinds of abuse, of being an immigrant to different places around the world is incorporated into my academic work.
International Alumna of the Year
Dr Veronica Fynn Bruey has been recognised as 2021 ANU International Alumna of the Year for her academic advocacy of law and policy reform regarding race, ethnicity, human rights, social justice and equality.
A Liberian civil war survivor, Veronica has shown relentless determination in the face of adversity to hold multiple academic degrees from four continents. Today, she is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Internal Displacement, the only scholarly platform committed to global displacement concerns. She is also a co-founder and Executive Director of Tuki-Tumarankeh, a not-for-profit organisation focused on global displacement, migration, and development issues.
"I came from a very poor background -- one of war and abuse and have faced racism and xenophobic behavior because I've been a migrant most of my life" says Veronica. "I've always been dismissed and sent to the background and not appreciated. So, when I am recognised, no matter how small it might seem in the eyes of others, it means the world to me."
She graduated from ANU with a PhD in Indigenous Studies in 2019. In a moving moment at the graduation ceremony, Veronica received her degree from ANU Chancellor Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC, QC as she cradled her one-year-old son.
Veronica, who has authored five books, several book chapters and peer review journal articles, is currently Assistant Professor in Legal Studies at Athabasca University, Canada.
"My lived experience is an integral part of my academic work," says Veronica. "The reality of being a war survivor, of surviving all kinds of abuse, of being an immigrant to different places around the world is incorporated into my academic work."
"My advice to ANU graduates is - dream big. You have the power to own your dream. Your dream is your dream.
"No matter the challenges that derail you or the people who discourage you, if you have any interest in making a positive impact on the world, follow your heart."
Veronica feels proud to be associated with the ANU alumni community. She was moved by 2020 ANU Alumnus of the Year, Ian Darling's award-winning documentary The Final Quarter on the racism faced by AFL star Adam Goodes.
"I bought Ian's documentary and own it now...because I felt 'This is a fellow alumnus, and this is fantastic'."
Read stories of all our awards recipients at 2021 ANU Alumni Awards