FELLOWS

KATE BACKSHALL

United States Fellow

Kate has long held a strong interest in the United States, from its domestic politics to its influence on global institutions.


Kate holds a master’s in International Economic Affairs from the University of Bordeaux in France where she graduated top of her class. She also has a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University in Melbourne where she majored in international relations and minored in public relations. Here she focused on the US’ evolving relationships with other great world powers such as with the BRIC countries and understanding the strategic security relationship between the US and Australia.


Kate has spent considerable time abroad, partaking in a New Colombo Plan trip to South Korea and studying in Europe. She now works for the Social Research Centre and volunteers as a State Coordinator for ActionAid International. She has also both written and edited for the Young Diplomats Society.

SOPHIE COOMBS

Latin America Fellow

Sophie is a recent graduate from the University of Queensland, holding a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Spanish and French. Throughout the course of her undergraduate studies, Sophie developed a keen interest in the complex geopolitical landscapes of both Latin America and the Francophone world. She sees many parallels between Australia and Latin America and believes there is much that the two regions can learn from one another.

Sophie is an information junky and spends most of her time listening to Spanish language podcasts or reading El País, as a way of fine-tuning her Spanish and connecting with issues in the Hispanic world. She is of the opinion that international affairs must be approached from a broad perspective, always acknowledging the historical, cultural and social elements at play within a given event.

In 2021 Sophie will be pursuing an Honours thesis with UQ’s School of Languages and Cultures, focusing on gender and power in contemporary French cinema and literature. 

 

TENNYSON DEARING 

Pacific Fellow

Tennyson is a Master of Laws candidate in international law at the University of New South Wales. He also studied international business, commercial law, and international relations as an undergraduate at the University of Sydney, and completed a semester course in German at the University of Vienna.

 

Tennyson has previously published on Pacific affairs as an analyst for the London-based think tank, the Atlas Institute for International Affairs. Having volunteered as a pro bono consultant for an NGO in Uganda, he also has a keen interest and experience in sustainable development.

 

Tennyson's primary research interests are in security, trade relations, national politics and regional geopolitics in the Pacific.

SHANNON MCGARRY 

Middle East & North Africa Fellow

Shannon is a current Bachelor of International Relations and Law student at the Australian National University with a focus on the MENA region.

 

She has studied Modern Standard and Levantine Arabic to augment her knowledge of the region. During her studies, Shannon has spent time in Egypt and Jordan, and completed an Arabic language and culture program with the ANU and Middle East University in Jordan, where she engaged with various UN missions, the ICRC, the Australian ambassador to Jordan and fellow Jordaninan young adults.

 

She is also interested in Islam and has studied the Qu’ran and researched the influence of Sharia in Jordanian law with the help of Jordanian lawyers and Islamic scholars. In addition to Arabic, Shannon also speaks German and is interested in the law of armed conflict and international human rights.

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ELLA WHITEHURST

China Fellow 

Ella is a recent graduate from the ANU with degrees in Asian Studies, minoring in Chinese language and languages, majoring in Korean and Italian. She has a developing proficiency in Chinese language and a strong proficiency in Korean.

 

During her studies at ANU, she focused on contemporary Chinese and Korean public policy and sociocultural developments. In 2018, she received a New Colombo Plan mobility grant, under which she was able to study at Korea University and complete an intensive Korean language program.

 

Drawing on her language studies, she is particularly interested in Chinese minority language policies as well as the dissemination of soft power as cultural diplomacy. From next year, Ella is set to start studying a Juris Doctor degree, and hope to focus on international law within Asia.

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LAURA BRECKTON

Cyber & Technology Fellow

Laura is a graduate of RMIT University's Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), in which she majored in security studies, while also undertaking a Diploma of Languages.  She currently is studying in the Juris Doctor program at Monash University, and is fascinated by the complexity of the politics and laws that govern how we share, use, and engage with technology and cyberspace.

She was first exposed to the cyber and technology scenes during an internship with Austrade Paris, wherein she worked primarily on disruptive and defence technology projects.  This sparked a burning curiosity to learn more about the intersection of technology, law, and policy and informed the direction of her final undergraduate thesis. 

 

She has a particular interest in digital privacy laws and space security and has since undertaken research work for the International Social Media Association and the Space Generation Advisory Council.  She currently is a Regulatory Officer with Melbourne Space Program.

JEREMY COSTA

Australian Foreign Policy Fellow

Jeremy is a recent graduate of the Master of International Relations program at the University of Melbourne. He has a strong interest in all things Australian foreign policy, but is particularly passionate about how Australia navigates its relationships with Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

 

He recently completed an internship with Asialink Diplomacy, where he published a major research project into the role of Australia's states and territories as diplomatic actors in the Asia-Pacific. The research was subsequently cited in a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Australia's proposed Foreign Relations Bill.

 

Jeremy has also previously worked with the Australian Institute of s International Affairs (AIIA), where he contributed widely as a member of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum organising committee, attended meetings with foreign ambassadors and prepared the AIIA's 2016-17 Annual Review.

 

He is excited about the opportunity to write on a range of Australia's most pressing foreign policy issues in what is certain to be a period of profound geopolitical change.

CHARMAINE MANUEL

Europe & Eurasia Fellow

Charmaine is a history lover and francophile who holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Monash University. Since completing an honours thesis on the writings of Christine de Pizan, she has had a varied career across local government, libraries and the not-for-profit sector.

Her career highlights include interning at The Conversation and working as a Research Assistant at Monash University's Centre for Religious Studies. Her writing and research have appeared in The Interpreter, Idiom, The Cambridge Journal of Education, History Australia and Revue d'histoire des textes. 

Charmaine is a contributor to the human rights magazine Right Now and was previously the publication's Managing Editor. She has a passion for languages, having previously studied Latin and French, and is currently learning Russian.

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DANA PJANIC

Climate Change Fellow

Dana is a recent graduate of the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Politics and International Studies and Russian Studies.

 

She is now beginning a Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked as a Research Intern at the Australian Women's Register, studying the second-wave feminist movement of the 1970s and its effects on gender policy in Australia. Additionally, she has experience as a Research Assistant to Dr Carla Winston in the School of Social and Political Sciences at Melbourne University, and as a Social Media Intern at the Australian Institute of International Affairs. During her studies, Dana travelled to Washington, D.C to spend a semester exchange studying at Georgetown University. 

As Climate Fellow, she looks forward to exploring the intersections between domestic climate policy and foreign policy, and how climate action can be framed in a global context.

ALEXI HEAZLE

Indo-Pacific Fellow

Alexi is a student at the Australian National University studying a Master of Strategic Studies. He is passionate about Indo-Pacific security issues, particularly regarding how middle powers like Australia and Japan can navigate a region characterised by great power competition.

 

He has recently completed an internship with the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and has also worked as a policy officer for the Oaktree Foundation. Previously, he worked with Humanitarian Affairs Asia, where he organised global youth leadership programmes with the UNOCHA and the government of Malaysia.

 

He is currently working with the Australia-Japan Youth Dialogue, working towards the 3rd edition of the bilateral dialogue in November this year. He is also part of the organising committee for the 2021 Australian Crisis Simulation Summit.

 

As the Indo-Pacific fellow, Alexi hopes to explore the concept of the Indo-Pacific as a geostrategic construct, and the roles of great and middle powers in shaping this.

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