Andrea Edoardo Varisco

Andrea Edoardo Varisco

Course completed in Australia: Masters of International Affairs, Peace and Conflict Studies
Institution: Australian National University (ANU)
Current position: Field Investigator at Conflict Armament Research (CAR)

Andrea Edoardo Varisco’s skills have taken him to a lot of stimulating and sometimes dangerous places, such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Nepal, Somaliland, South Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

He has worked as an intern for the United Nations’ Department for Disarmament Affairs in New York, as a trainee for the Flemish Peace Institute in Brussels and has also collaborated with the Italian Observatory on Arms Trade.

Currently he is a field investigator with UK-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the world’s only organisation that specialises in tracking the supply of weapons into conflict-affected areas.

Dr Varisco, who also has a PhD from the University of York in the UK, readily admits that Australia played a part in getting him where he is today, with an advertisement in The Economist for the Australian National University (ANU) steering him from Italy to Canberra.

After finishing a Masters in Politics and Comparative Institutions at the University of Milan, he decided to expand his understanding of international affairs and specifically peace and conflict studies.

“I was looking for a Masters opportunity abroad,” he says. “I always had a dream to visit Australia and the Master of International Affairs, Peace and Conflict Studies at the Australian National University was quite unique. I applied for it immediately as the program perfectly responded to my professional and personal objectives.”

Andrea was immersed in a global environment at ANU, studying alongside scholars from all over the world. “I met some inspirational people,” he says. “It was good to hear different views, to be in touch with an international group and to share expertise. The knowledge I acquired at ANU and the people I met in Australia were instrumental in all stages of my career.”

“Before being colleagues, they became first and foremost friends, and I have also collaborated with some of them in recent years. For instance, I wrote a chapter in a book edited by my former tutor at ANU.”

Academically he thrived on the international approach, the informality and the English-speaking environment.

“I already had a good level of English as I had worked in the United States, but ANU helped me to organise my thoughts in another language through essay writing, exams, tutorials, lessons and talking to teachers,” he says.

“I really liked ANU. The campus is amazing, the courses were very stimulating and the staff were super helpful with everything. I never needed to ask for anything. I felt very welcome.”

There were other things that he also loved about Australia. “The nature is pristine and every corner of the island is beautiful, from the vast outback of Western Australia to Dove Lake in Tasmania, from the majestic Uluru to the beaches of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef,” he says.

“The views are incredible and unlike Europe, you can drive for hours and see no one, which is amazing. In every place I visited I could meet lovely, friendly people, ready to welcome tourists with a smile and to make you feel at home.”

Andrea also fell in love while in Australia…with the country’s famous chocolate biscuit, the Tim Tam. “I discovered Tim Tams on my first day and it was love at first sight!” he says smiling.”