Mara is in her 2nd year of a Double Bachelor Degree in International Relations and Sustainability and Environment Studies, majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Sustainable Development.
What is your cultural/ethnic heritage and what do you love about it?
My mother is Filipino-American and my father is Dutch-Indonesian, so I come from a fairly diverse ethnic background that I am quite proud of! It plays an integral role in making me who I am today, so I love being able to connect with various aspects of each culture and am always trying to learn more about my heritage. For example, my Lola (my Filipina grandmother) plays a huge role in my life and I am so appreciative to be able to learn more about the Philippines through her and my mother, especially when it comes to connecting with our extensive family through huge family reunions!
What is your favourite cuisine from Asia and the Pacific regions?
My absolute favourite meal growing up was Filipino Chicken Adobo (I love all things salty and vinegar-y) and it was what I asked for at any and every special occasion. I have distinct memories of taste-testing the marinade with my mother in the kitchen and always trying to sneak more vinegar in when she wasn’t looking. I am now vegetarian, but I can definitely say that Adobo holds a special place in my heart, so I’m keen to try out some veggie versions!
What issue in Asia and the Pacific regions are you most passionate about/intrigued by?
An issue that I was introduced to recently, and am now intrigued by, is the environmental degradation that faces ecosystems in the Pacific Islands. With huge impacts such as rising sea-levels, fluctuating temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns, the consequences of climate change in the Pacific really struck me. I am eager to learn more about how nations’ responses to the situation will influence climate adaptation whilst providing a precedent and model that the international community can learn from when combating climate change.