Last Monday, as the world prepared to celebrate the Centenary of International Women's Day, Carina was one of 100 women to be inducted into Western Australia’s inaugural Hall of Fame by His Excellency Dr Ken Michael AC, Governor of Western Australia.
Other well-known inductees were Janet Holmes-a-Court, Alannah MacTiernan, Lisa Scaffidi, Georgina Rinehart, Carmen Lawrence, Professor Fiona Stanley, Priya Cooper, Julie Bishop, and Ros Worthington.
Carina was also invited to be a guest speaker for the Ethnic Communities Council of WA at Parliament House to celebrate International Women’s Week.
Carina has certainly earned her place among such illustrious ranks.
At the tender age of 16, she demonstrated amazing courage by escaping war-torn Vietnam on a small wooden boat with her two younger siblings and 370 other people.
Carina and her siblings endured violent storms, pirate raids and severely unsanitary conditions to make it to Indonesia, only to find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island for almost three months.
Eventually, those who survived were discovered and provided with the necessary materials to set up a refugee camp. After 10 months, Carina was finally able to begin the next phase of her life in the United States.
Over the next 20 years Carina earned a Bachelor of Chemistry and Masters in Business Administration, married and became a mother.
Five years ago she resettled in Perth with her husband and daughter, having made a pledge to raise awareness of ‘boat people’ and their stories.
Carina enrolled at Murdoch and completed her Honours thesis on the significance of memoirs to history.
This was inspired by her own journey back to the Indonesian jungle to dig up the grave of her cousin who they had buried there on their escape.
This year she released her first book, Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus 1975-1996 and she is now about to embark on a PhD, which will see her produce an oral history on the Vietnamese exodus.
When her studies are complete Carina hopes to work as a faculty member at the University or with a government agency in the field of refugee immigration.