The front lines of the Russian invasion of Ukraine may seem a world away, but for one Tasmanian woman, they are disturbingly close.
Felicity Gray, from Devenport on the state's north coast, graduated from Don College in 2007, and in the 15 years since has pursued a career in international relations with an undergraduate degree from the University of Tasmania.
That led to her work for former Greens leader Christine Milne when she held the foreign affairs portfolio, and remained as an advisor to the Greens until 2017.
IN OTHER NEWS:
She then commenced a PhD on civilian protection at the Australian National University, and last month that led her to Ukraine, helping those fleeing the war torn eastern cities.
Speaking recently from the relative safety of the city of Odesa in southern Ukraine, Ms Gray said she took on a job as advocacy lead for the humanitarian organisation Nonviolent Peaceforce in November last year.
The role was based in Washington DC, but after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it became clear her presence would be useful in the conflict.
"There are not a lot of international organisations with a presence on the ground," Ms Gray said.
"And the level of protection of civilian needs here is incredibly high."
Ms Gray said the work of NP is informed by what Ukrainian humanitarian organisations are telling them they need at the central evacuation hubs known as collective humanitarian centres.
"We have been dedicating our days to speaking to Ukrainians in the midst of their own humanitarian response," she said.
A lot of the people who are responding in Lviv, and Odessa, are people who have an intimate understanding of what it means to be displaced.- Felicity Gray
"We've been trying to understand how that works, what need there is for additional support so we can advocate for that and provide that.
"We will speak to people who are in the midst of their own displacement, how they are feeling what they need and how we can best be of service.
"You can really never truly and fully understand what is happening without speaking to people on the ground."
Prior to travelling to Ukraine, much of Ms Gray's experience was in the South Sudanese civil war, and on gun violence in the United States.
But she had come to understand that for many Ukrainians this conflict had been ongoing since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
She said what was "truly heartening" about the conflict was the degree to which Ukrainians who had previously been displaced themselves were working to help those fleeing violence now.
"A lot of the people who are responding in Lviv, and Odessa, are people who have an intimate understanding of what it means to be displaced.
"These are the same people that have that same experience."
A poignant example of that, she said, was a legal aid service that had been set up in Dnipro, staffed by lawyers who had fled Mariupol and Donetsk.
"I am so impressed by the courage, definitely, and also the level of love and generosity. People have put their regular lives on hold to show up at collective centres essentially 24/7."
As for herself, Ms Gray said she is "fortunate" to have only needed to flee to an underground bunker twice so far during her time in Ukraine.
Her days typically start with a security briefing, and for her own mental health she tries to ensure she can incorporate meditation and yoga into her weekly routine.
"It is really important to know when you yourself also need a rest. If you are burnt out you can't be of service to anyone," she said.
"The thing I have always felt about this kind of work is that it is a privilege to hear people's stories at a time when they are often really struggling.
"It is a privilege to be able to offer them assistance, to be invited into their homes and into their country.
"I think that is the part that keeps you going."
Ms Gray said anyone wishing to support Ukrainians during the crisis can do so by donating to NP or other humanitarian organisations, showing solidarity on social media, and even just by being educated about the ongoing conflict.
"The gratitude Ukrainians have for the solidarity is very high. Continuing to show that in any way you can is really important. And that doesn't require you being on the ground in Ukraine."
For more information about the organisation Ms Gray works for and to make a donation visit nonviolentpeaceforce.org.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.