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Chance Meeting – Africa

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In September this year, Valerie Sesia met CCES Senior Lecturer George Grace whilst he was on assignment in Zambia. Valerie is a current CCES Masters Student and the Managing Director of Customized Clearing & Forwarding Limited, based in Zambia. Customized Clearing is recognised as one of the leading Customs Brokers in Zambia, with 150 full time employees and being licensed by the Zambia Revenue Authority to operate at 17 Customs Stations collecting a monthly average of US$20 million in trade taxes.

George reported just after the meeting “I am in Zambia doing an IFC mission and we have been meeting with government agencies and the private sector and today met with one of the key brokers. All I knew about this lady before the meeting was that her name was Valerie and she was one of the key people for our mission to meet as she is a major player in the Zambian customs broking industry. When I met her she was so excited to meet me because but it turned out she is one of our current post graduate students, Valerie Sesia. A real dynamo of a lady who has been the major force for the brokers in Zambia and Chairperson of the brokers association for 17 years up until last year. Valerie has loved our post graduate program, particularly working with all her unit convenors, and is hoping to make it to Canberra for the graduation next year once she gets through her last unit. Her input was very valuable for our mission.”

Valerie, recounting the meeting stated that “It really brought home and reiterated the worth and importance of the studies being undertaken, for there I was sitting in Zambia trying to appreciate the relevance of these international instruments in a local context, and then the next thing is, the relevance literally is sitting right in front of me discussing the very items that I had been studying.”

This encounter is just one example of where the diverse range of students and associates and the richness of relevant topics and perspectives is regularly recounted in course feedback reports.

Valerie goes on to say that throughout her studies, like many other online students, she has faced many difficulties including regular electricity outages making internet connectivity hard to maintain. Despite these regular issues, she has still managed to participate in on-line discussions and has been able to submit her assignments on time. Valerie maintains a Distinction grade average.

Valerie held the elected position of Chairperson for the Zambian Customs & Forwarding Agents Association from 1996 – 2013, Vice Chair for the Regional Association 2012-2013 and represents the Zambia Chamber of Commerce on various international trade related forums.  In 2013, she was recognized under the Cabinet Office, Private Sector Development Reform Programme for her contributions towards Trade Reforms in Zambia. Valerie expects to Graduate in March 2015 with a Master of International Customs Law & Administration (MICLA).