Marinka Franulovic (Croatia) is currently a Monitoring Officer in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. She joined the Mission in March 2015. Marinka graduated with a master’s degree in Law from the Faculty of Law at the University Of Zagreb, Croatia. You can hear more about her experience by watching the recording of the webinar "Monitoring Officer Opportunities at the OSCE."
How did you end up at the OSCE? Tell us a bit about your career journey.
Prior to my work as OSCE SMM monitor in Ukraine, I was a professional, as well as a diplomatic spouse, in many different countries worldwide, such as the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation. The focus of my career was mainly in areas related to law, diplomacy and human rights. In Central Asia, I worked specifically on gender issues, including prevention of trafficking in human beings. Prior to my current assignment, I worked as an office manager at the Croatian Embassy in Moscow, at the time when my country entered the EU. I was actively involved in the opening of the Consular department. My portfolio also included culture, education, science and sports. My experience as OSCE SMM monitor has been a unique opportunity to enrich my long-term international carrier, especially in terms of broadening my professional and human skills.
What has been the most exciting part of working here?
The most exciting part of my work at the OSCE SMM has been to live and work in non-government controlled area first and then in government controlled area of the country. I observed shelling and demolished property. I spoke on a daily basis with civilians affected by the conflict, including those who lost their family members. The human suffering should leave no one indifferent. Therefore, I felt excited that l could make a difference by helping the suffering civilians through referral to international agencies providing humanitarian aid and legal support and through reporting impartially about the situation on the ground. In short, monitoring work on the two sides provided me with unique insights into the conflict and its complex nature and as well as the challenges of conflict resolution.
What have you learned about yourself while working at this capacity?
Although I had rather atypical career path, working in this capacity placed me out of my comfort zone. I had never worked before in a hostile environment and l had never had colleagues with police or military background. However, l went through such challenges surprisingly well. The Mission provides equal space also for the professionals with civilian background. This experience made me also understand the core value of team work and especially how enthusiastic I could be when there is a need to serve for the common goal. The work at the SMM has definitely made me grow, professionally and personally.
What career advice would you give to women across the OSCE region considering opportunities in international civil service?
Do not hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and apply for a job in international organizations. It’s an enriching and unique experience.The presence of women is highly encouraged, particularly in conflict-affected areas. The added value of gender diversity is recognized and highly appreciated not only internally within the organization but also among the people we interact with on a daily basis. On a personal note, working in international organizations has provided me also with the opportunity to advocate more active engagement of women in decision making and as agents for change in the conflict and in post-conflict environment.
What would you recommend to any women looking for positions at the Organization?
OSCE SMM provides equal opportunities in the working environment for men and women. The presence of women in the organization is highly encouraged since gender balance is prerequisite for ensuring inclusiveness and equality. I would like to help demystify the idea that the SMM is a place only for people with law enforcement and military background. Many women with civilian background had the opportunity to grow inside the SMM and now have senior positions inside the organization. Therefore, women from human rights-related, law enforcement and military background are all equally welcome to join our teams in Ukraine.