Julia Novrita

I am originally from Aceh, the most western part of Indonesia. In 2001, I started my career as a volunteer at local NGO where I met children who lived in remote villages affected by armed conflict. In response to their limited access to formal education, we conducted an alternative education program. But our support was also very limited because of unpredictable situation in the field where security has always been our main barrier to reach them.  This experience made me realize how fortunate I am to live in a relative safe area where I could continue going to school up to university despite coming from modest family.  My interest to work in education field, started from this experience. 


Amid of uncertainty on the future of Aceh, I was selected as a fellow in the International Fellowship Program sponsored by The Ford Foundation.  I chose the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA to study for a master’s degree. Returning to Indonesia, I lived in Papua, the most eastern part of Indonesia. Where I worked with two different capacity building projects. The first one was a USAID funded project “Local Governance Support Program” in Sorong, West Papua to support Local NGOs, Local Government and Legislative members to strengthen their capacity in the process of policy making. The second one was a British Julia NovritaCouncil project to strengthen Basic and Secondary Education in Teluk Bintuni, one of remote districts in West Papua. The project helped teachers, education foundations and Local Government for Education Affairs to improve their capacity in implementing education programs.


In 2009, I worked to support NUFFIC funded project, “Improving the Quality of Education, Research, and Community Services in the field of Engineering, at Four Higher Education Institutions in the Eastern Part of Indonesia”.  Stationed in Ambon, Maluku, at the Lead Institute, Pattimura State University provided me with the opportunity to experience the dynamics on this campus. I learned how the segregation between Moslems and Christians in society affected political dynamics on campus and how the division is sharpened by politicians to become intense during local and national elections.


In response to this condition, InDev (Inspiring Development), a Local NGO that I established with two other IFP Ford Foundation fellows, initiated a program called “Non Violent Study Circles” (NVSC) in 2011.  This program was inspired by the study circle program in Montgomery County public schools in Maryland which addressed racial barriers to student achievement where I did professional internship as part of Master degree requirement in 2006.  With the mission “Sustaining Peace from Campus to Community”, more than 200 students participated in the program and half of them were awarded certificates of completion.


After searching extensively, I found International Education program at UMass to be the most suitable one to build my future career as an education advisor at national and international level, with special expertise in conflict-prone or post-conflict areas.  CIE’s appreciation of the value of the experience that students bring to class to be combined with theories by professors who have a strong background as education practitioners was very attractive to me. The diverse and welcoming community at CIE will help me to develop the skills I need to work in the conflict-prone provinces of Indonesia 


Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
Off-Campus Student