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2021 Young Women to Watch in International Affairs

In celebration of this year's International Women's Day, Young Australians in International Affairs is delighted to announce our list of Young Women to Watch in International Affairs for 2021.

The list seeks to shine a spotlight on young Australian women making a name for themselves in government, academia, think tanks, the private sector and civil society across the broad horizon of international affairs - whether it be in foreign policy, national security, international aid and development, a particular bilateral relationship, cyber, defence, strategic issues or international trade. These often remain male-dominated fields, and YAIA wants to recognise, celebrate and promote the next generation of women achieving success and making an impact in these areas.

With the huge success of our lists in 2019 and 2020, our annual list is back for 2021! After receiving more nominations than ever, and a challenging and competitive shortlisting process, we are delighted to announce this year's list of Young Women to Watch in International Affairs.

Hiba Abd El Hamed

Hiba is the Special Assistant to the Head of the United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan (UNDP) – the largest office in its global portfolio, with a budget of more than USD$470 million and over 400 national and international personnel. Hiba supports the strategic direction of the office through the provision of advisory, analytical, coordination and quality assurance support. This includes support to UNDP’s priorities through engagement with key stakeholders including the Office of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General, government, donors – including Australia and multilateral agencies. Key achievements have included the preparation of the UNDP statement to the Plenary Meeting of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund Board in Brussels.

As a Policy Adviser at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Hiba's role focused on the intersections between health equity, human rights and gender - from a social policy and systems reform perspective. Prior to this role, she interned at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan. She led and supported the coordination of the first UN Civil-Military training programme in partnership with the Sudanese Armed Forces. She also supported the development, curriculum integration and delivery of a seven-part professional development program for Victoria Police as a management consultant.

A proud Sudanese-Australian, she has been recognized for her extensive work in community development, including as a Nominee for Australian of the Year (2017), Young Achiever for Rotary International - Melbourne Chapter (2020) and as a Finalist for the Victorian Young Achievers Award (2017). She has a Bachelor of International Studies, a Master of International Development and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health.

Zahra Al Hilaly

Zahra Al Hilaly is a 20-year-old Law and Journalism student at Murdoch University. Her work is centred upon creating inclusive intersectional change for women of colour within decision-making levels.

Zahra currently represents Australia on the United Nations Generation Equality Youth Task Force, sits on the YWCA Australia Young Women’s Council, is a MYAN Australia State Ambassador and represents Western Australian Youth as the Western Australia Youth Ambassador.

Zahra has represented Australia at multiple global meetings including the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Asia-Pacific Beijing+25 Review and the International Youth Meeting.

As a first-generation Australian, Zahra has worked within policy to emphasise the voices of young migrant and refugee youth within policy. In 2020 she worked to establish the Western Australia COVID-19 Recovery Framework, the first youth-focused COVID-19 policy paper that consulted with underrepresented constituencies including migrant and refugee youth. Zahra has further worked within international policy, contributing to multiple United Nations reports, including the Beijing +25 Youth Report, that consulted with thousands of young people internationally about the global progress made for young women and girls.

As a result of her work, Zahra has been named a United Nations leader for Gender Equality, was recently a finalist for Young Australian Muslim of the Year and was selected as a global candidate for the World YWCA Global Women’s Leadership Cohort.

Rosanna Anderson

Rosanna Anderson is a PhD candidate and researcher at Tilburg University as part of the Constitutionalizing in the Anthropocene project. Her research is in the field of International Environmental law, with a focus on human rights and climate change litigation. The basis of the work is examining how legal systems may evolve to respond to the climate crisis, particularly in relation to human rights in the European Union.

After working in South Australia in public policy and anti-corruption for two years, Rosanna moved to Finland in 2018 to start her Masters in International and Comparative Law, majoring in Environmental and Climate Change Law and Policy. During her studies at the University of Eastern Finland, she interned for six months at the United Nations Environment Programme, New York office as part of the Inter-Agency Affairs team.

After graduating, Rosanna completed an eight month internship with the Office of the General Counsel at the Green Climate Fund in Incheon, South Korea. During this period, she co-authored an academic paper on GCF’s legal framework for resource mobilisation for forthcoming publication in the AIIB Yearbook of International Law. Rosanna also holds a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide.

Ané Coetzee

Ané is a public engagement professional with deep experience working in international development and affairs. She has a proven track record of delivering high-impact projects with the goal of advancing progress against the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Throughout her career, Ané has worked in Australia, Fiji and the U.S.A. in a range of strategic engagement roles. Most recently she worked with UNICEF Australia to roll-out communications strategies to support key campaigns and youth engagement.

She has also worked with the UN World Food Programme in Fiji as part of the Australian Aid programme. In this role, she developed extensive experience in designing public awareness and advocacy campaigns to support disaster-preparedness strategies. Previously, she worked with the UN Global Compact on the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit and Business Ambition for 1.5 Campaign.

Ané has a passion for youth engagement and has held many youth leadership roles, including Country Coordinator Australia for the 16th UN Youth Climate Change Conference, Member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Youth Constituency and Member of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth.

Ané holds a Bachelor of Media (Public Relations and Advertising) from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Commerce (Marketing and International Business) from the University of Sydney.

Eloise Dolan

Eloise Dolan is Program Manager at Asia Society Australia, driving design and delivery of the organisation's Victoria-based programming. Eloise leads the national Gen A (Generation Asia) leadership network, a platform that connects and develops the next generation of Asia-focused leaders. In 2020 Eloise established the Generation Asia Youth Forum, a summit that brings together Asia-engaged changemakers with senior leaders in our society to spotlight how young people continue to shape our ties to Asia despite travel bans, social disruption, and economic and political uncertainty.

Eloise previously worked as Project Coordinator for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program, a bilateral initiative strengthening Australia-Indonesia relations through cultural and youth exchange. Passionate about intercultural learning and youth engagement, Eloise has served as board director and volunteer for AFS Intercultural Programs. She regularly conducts workshops on global competence and works in a team of international trainers to facilitate content exploring the intersection of intercultural learning and social justice.

Eloise holds a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia. In her spare time she is a mentor for international students through Practera, an Australian EdTech company.

Emily Enright

Emily Enright is a Policy Fellow at the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), London, where she works on the Gender, Youth and Diversity portfolio. She is the Coordinator for BASIC’s Emerging Voices Network, a new network of high-performing young professionals in nuclear which centres regional, gender and youth inclusion as essential to innovative global policymaking.

Emily’s research interests include norms and institutions in nuclear weapons policy, WMD arms control and nuclear weapons politics. She presented at the 2020 UK PONI Conference, was a security delegate to the 2020 Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue, and is a member of Girl Security’s first UK mentor cohort. Emily has worked on research projects relating to P5 dialogue, the future of arms control, and strengthening the UK’s nuclear policy community.

She is an MA Candidate at King’s College London (KCL), works with Student/Young Pugwash UK on their ‘Project on Ethical Science’, and worked throughout 2020 as a research assistant at the Centre for Science and Security Studies, KCL.

Formerly a junior public servant in Australia, and having volunteered briefly with YAIA Victoria, Emily completed her BA with Honours at the University of Melbourne and has a Certificate in International Affairs and Strategy from Sciences Po.

Caitlin Figueiredo

Caitlin Figueiredo ("Fig-ar-aye-do") is a proud Goan-Australian and Founder-CEO of Jasiri Australia, a social enterprise working to unleash the next generation of diverse political leaders and policy changemakers. Jasiri’s civic engagement program, Girls Takeover Parliament is internationally renowned and works with over 40% of Australia's federal parliament and 130 politicians across the Pacific, India and Trinidad and Tobago annually.

Caitlin serves as the Vice-Chair of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, the national peak body representing 4.5 million young people. In this role, she works to ensure young people’s voices are heard within federal government. As Vice-Chair, Caitlin was integral in securing the Federal Minister and Shadow Minister of Youth roles, a multi-million-dollar election commitment from the Australian Labor Party and funding for AYAC and national youth advocacy programs from the Australian government. In 2020, Caitlin was selected as an Expert Panellist by the Prime Minister and Minister for Youth to co-develop the Australian Youth Development Index.

Caitlin has eight years’ experience advising and developing mobilisation and policy strategies for international civil society and humanitarian organisations. She has worked with two DFAT Assistant Secretaries as a Senior Consultant for the Australian Aid Program. Caitlin has also worked with UN Women and the United Nations in New York, where she served on three UN Inter-Agency Task Forces and was a founding committee member of the UN Commission of the Status of Women Youth Forum. She is a frequent national media commentator and international speaker having spoken at the United Nations, 10 Downing Street, Parliament House, US State Department and more.

For her work in civic mobilisation and gender equality, Caitlin was named a Queens Young Leader by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Australian Human Rights Commission, Young People’s Human Rights Medal finalist and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 list maker. In 2019, Caitlin was selected to attend the first Forbes 30 Under 30 Global Women's Summit, which recognised and brought together the most powerful young women from across the globe to Israel.

Caitlin remains the youngest woman to win the Young Leader category in the Australian 100 Women of Influence awards. Caitlin has a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies with a Pacific Regional Specialisation and is currently completing a Masters in National Security Policy.

Rachele Grassi

Rachele is from Milan and is the first ever female Secretary General of the Chamber in Sydney.

Rachele has extensive experience fostering business, developing institutional networks, promoting Italian based companies, and driving bilateral trade among Italy and Australia. She joined the Chamber in Sydney 2016, taking over the role as CEO and Secretary General in 2018. She previously worked for 5 years at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, where she developed the passion for bilateral relationships and economic diplomacy.

She was selected as one of 52 Emerging Leaders in the prestigious European Union’s EU-Australia Leadership forum in 2018-2019 and among the finalists at the Executive of the Year Awards 2020.

Rachele studied in Milan, at the Faculty of Intercultural Mediation with majors in Economics, Law, Japanese and Chinese. She is a strong advocate for women’s equality, and leading by example and shared values.

Kate Kalinova

Kate Kalinova is a Project Manager at the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) in Korea. With a strong background in research, community-building, and social media marketing, Kate has been an active advocate for Australia-Asia engagement.

Embracing her passion for international affairs and community development, Kate has substantial leadership and volunteering experience in the space. At the Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA), she served as President of ACYA Beijing, while at Young Australians in International Affairs (YAIA), she served as East Asia Fellow and Careers Director. Her writing has been published by the Lowy Institute, the East Asia Forum and The Korea Times.

Kate holds a Bachelor's degree (with Honours) from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney and a Master's degree from the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in Beijing. Alongside her studies, Kate has completed numerous internships in Australia, China, and South Korea. She is passionate about community engagement and is always keen to get involved in projects that strengthen and enrich the Australia-Korea bilateral relationship.

In addition to her full-time role with AustCham Korea, she is currently a Co-Director and Korea Correspondent for Asia Options and an Honorary Reporter for TalkTalkKorea (

Natasha Karner

Natasha Karner is a PhD candidate in RMIT’s Global, Urban and Social Studies School. She is currently researching the risks of emerging technologies in warfare, specifically looking at fully-autonomous weapons and international efforts to address them at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. More broadly, she has written on the changing nature of warfare; the benefits and risks of increasing automation and AI; and concerns over personal data and app use. She is passionate about mitigating any potential humanitarian harm that may come from misunderstood or fast-tracked technology and weapons. She currently teaches international relations at RMIT and the University of Melbourne, and her writing has been published on Young Australians in International Affairs Insights blog.

Natasha is a former recipient of the George Alexander and John Storey Jnr awards, which allowed her to study at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and intern at the Refugee Migrant Children’s Centre. In recent years, she has contributed to the Australian Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which collaborates with the international campaign to address concerns about autonomous weapons. She is also a founding member of BASIC’s Emerging Voices Network, a global and inclusive community of next-generation leaders collaborating on nuclear issues and developing recommendations to improve nuclear weapons policy making. Outside of research and advocacy, she is a co-founder of the James Marcon Youth Health Foundation, which has raised over $250,000 to fund innovative art programs for Headspace centres and raise awareness for youth mental health in Australia.

Jessica Kipping

Jessica Kipping is currently Second Secretary and Consul at the Australian Embassy in Beirut, managing consular issues and crisis response for Australians in Lebanon and Syria.

Since arriving in 2019, amid ongoing civil unrest and economic uncertainty in Lebanon, Jessica has focused on providing consular assistance to one of Australia's largest diaspora populations, including in cases of imprisonment, forced marriage, hospitalisation and kidnapping.

In 2020 Jessica assisted hundreds of Australians in Lebanon and Syria to return home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and managed the Embassy's consular response following the Beirut Port explosion, which affected many Australians, including herself - her residence was destroyed in the blast.

Before her posting to Beirut, Jessica completed a short-term mission at Australia's Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia, and worked in onshore consular operations and media liaison for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Prior to joining DFAT in 2016, Jessica worked in corporate operations for Woolworths, and interned in the Middle East Bureau of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.

Jessica speaks Arabic and French and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts with a Diploma in Languages from Monash University.

Eveline Kuang

Eveline (Evie) is a solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons, working in the mergers & acquisitions team and specialising in foreign investment. In her role, Evie advises clients on the impact of the Australian foreign investment regime to transactions, including advising on the recently introduced national security regime.

Prior to joining King & Wood Mallesons, Evie spent almost 10 years working in the Commonwealth Government – most recently as a legislative adviser, providing advice on national security policy and a policy adviser in foreign investment and critical infrastructure.

Evie has been a volunteer with the Australian Red Cross since 2015, volunteering in local programs and is currently a member of the ACT Divisional Advisory Board. Evie recently concluded a two-year term as the Youth Member on the Australian Red Cross National Board. As part of this role, Evie represented Australia and Australian youth internationally as part of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement and in Geneva at the movement’s statutory meetings in December 2019 as part of the Australian delegation. The meetings consisted of a number of conferences, attended by over 150 Red Cross Red Crescent national societies, government representatives from each of these countries and other large NGOs with a focus on achieving humanitarian focused outcomes. Evie was the recipient of the Australian Red Cross’ Youth Meritorious Service Award in 2018 for her contributions locally and nationally.

Evie has a keen interest in human rights and International Humanitarian Law, giving back to the community and in inspiring others to do the same. Evie is also a qualified yoga teacher, teaching in Canberra yoga studios and is passionate about promoting wellness and wellbeing.

Alyssa Leng

Alyssa Leng is a Research Associate in the Power and Diplomacy program at the Lowy Institute. Alyssa’s research interests include geo-economics as well as economic growth and development, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Her most recent work includes the COVID Performance Index, a digital analysis of how different regions, political systems, population sizes and levels of economic development have handled the pandemic so far. She is also one of the principal researchers behind the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index, a data-driven project which maps the changing distribution of power in the region.

Before joining the Institute, Alyssa worked on Australia's economic policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic and infrastructure policy at the Australian Treasury. She has also worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia and holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.

Amelia Long

Amelia is the Second Secretary at the Australian Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta, Indonesia. She holds a Bachelor of International and Global Studies (2014) from the University of Sydney. During her studies, Amelia participated in an academic exchange to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she commenced Indonesian language studies.

Prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a policy graduate in 2017, Amelia was a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, where she focused on defence and security issues in Southeast Asia, and an editor of The Strategist. She has previously worked at The Altruis Foundation in Sukabumi, West Java, and as Communications Officer at the ACT Chapter of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association. Amelia was a panellist at UN Youth Australia’s 2016 Security Summit, attended the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth as a delegate in 2018, and was selected for the 2020 Raisina Dialogue Young Fellows Program.

Iona Main

Iona is a foreign policy adviser at Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), currently on leave to undertake a Master of Public Affairs at Princeton University.

At PM&C, Iona worked in the International Division where she focused on strengthening Australia’s relations with Southeast Asia, providing strategic policy advice to the Prime Minister and contributing to milestone meetings including Sydney’s hosting of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in 2018.

At Princeton, Iona is concentrating in international relations and served as the class co-president in 2020. Outside class, she has undertaken a summer consultancy at the World Bank and has worked as a research assistant to former US Ambassador to Israel and Middle East policy expert, Professor Daniel Kurtzer. She has had several articles on American politics published in the Lowy Interpreter, and has been a contributing writer to the Economist Intelligence Unit on Australian political and economic affairs.

Iona has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, and speaks Bahasa Indonesia and French.

Rachel Mason Nunn

Rachel is the Manager of International Development at Equity Economics and Development Partners. Rachel is also the founder and host of Good Will Hunters, and produces podcasts on development and foreign policy through her communications agency Good Will Media.

Previously, Rachel was a Senior Consultant at EY, and a Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, working in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific. Prior to this, Rachel worked for ex-Premier Mike Baird. Rachel is a leading expert at the intersection of development and foreign policy.

Mikaylie Page

Mikaylie is a modern slavery, human rights and environmental sustainability research analyst and COO at the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP). Passionate about sustainable development and Australia's relationship with Southeast Asia, Mikaylie graduated from her degree in Law and Arts with first class honours and a double major in International Relations and Political Economics/Social Policy.

Mikaylie is the COO of AASYP where she works to build connections between young people aged 18-29 years from across Southeast Asia and Australia. Working to bring youth voices into international diplomacy, Mikaylie is responsible for highlighting young people in the region by managing AASYP's diplomacy, publications, digital events, hub and eLearning portfolios.

In 2019, Mikaylie undertook studies in Indonesia where she studied at Indonesian law and business at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII). While in Indonesia, she interned at the Centre for Human Rights UII, working on projects focused on regional peacebuilding through interfaith dialogues and the inclusion of Indigenous Believers. She also interned at Wahana Visi (World Vision) Indonesia on the 'End Violence Against Children' campaign.

Mikaylie is currently undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Planning and works in consultancy as a research analyst on issues of modern slavery, human rights and environmental sustainability at SD Strategies.

Rohana Prince

Rohana currently serves as Second Secretary with the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, where she covers domestic politics and human rights. She also manages “Ponlok Chomnes: Data and Dialogue for Development”, a program designed to develop Cambodia’s think tanks and promote public-policy dialogue.

Prior to learning Khmer and moving to Cambodia with DFAT, Rohana was the Thawley Scholar with the Lowy Institute and Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. As part of the Alliances and American Leadership Project, Rohana published pieces analysing the way US grand strategy shapes America’s relationships with Australia and Southeast Asian states.

Rohana has previously worked in DFAT’s ASEAN and Regional Program Section, where she was part of the team that delivered the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit and supported the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister’s engagements in a range of regional dialogues. She has worked in DFAT’s Southeast Asia and South and West Asia Divisions, as well as the Department of Defence’s Regional Strategy Directorate and in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as an education policy adviser.

Rohana holds a Masters of Strategic Studies from the Australian National University, which she completed as the T.B. Millar Scholar. Rohana also holds a Bachelor of Philosophy with Honours (Asia-Pacific) (PhB) degree, also from the ANU. Rohana completed her honours thesis in 2014 on China’s role as a driver of Australian strategic policy and studied abroad at Peking University with the International Alliance of Research Universities and the University of Toronto.

Rohana is also a keen AFL player, having joined the local team in Phnom Penh and captained the Eastlake First Grade Women’s team in Canberra. She is a gender equality advocate, serving on DFAT’s Workplace Gender Equality Network executive committee and as Strategic Direction Leader for Eastlake Football Club.

Skye Riggs

Skye is an advocate for democracy, the purpose-driven economy and the role of civil society in high level decision making; work that saw her named an inaugural Obama Foundation Leader for the Asia Pacific in 2020. Skye previously founded Y Vote and after meeting a fellow Obama Foundation leader, Skye co-founded Ripple, which is helping to accelerate the impact of young Australians through their careers, community and civic systems. Ripple has collaborated with organisations such as Global Voices, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates, LinkedIn and the Cotton On Foundation, and featured special guests such as former advisor to President Obama Bernadette Meehan and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The members that make up the Ripple community are driving change in diverse areas such as foreign affairs, space-tech, aid & development, climate & policy. Skye's commitment to supporting young adults to build communities, solve complex problems and influence structural change has seen her represent Australia in a cross section of international forums such as the World Forum for Democracy, the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit and the EU-Australia Leadership Forum. She was previously a Council member at the Australian Institute of International Affairs NSW and helped launch Social Impact Experiences for Airbnb across the Asia Pacific region.

Ashleigh Streeter-Jones

Ashleigh Streeter-Jones is a writer, speaker, activist, and the founder of Raise Our Voice Australia, an initiative to boost the number of diverse young female and non-binary voices in public decision making. The program launched in 2020, graduating 37 young people from across the country, and was supported by organisations including the US Consulate.

Ashleigh started her career with VGen, World Vision Australia’s youth movement, and was a pivotal driver in the campaign that got child labour on the G20 agenda for the first time in history. Following this, she was appointed the inaugural National Director of Campaigns.

Ashleigh co-founded the Girls Takeover Parliament program in 2017, for which she was described by Forbes as a “youthful visionary”. Following this, she was named the youngest ever ACT Woman of the Year and Forbes 30 Under 30 listee.

In 2017, Ashleigh ran Young Australians in International Affairs’ annual Future 21 conference, and is an alumnus of the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneers program. In 2019, she assumed the Chair of the Women’s March Canberra, organizing and co-hosting the annual event as part of the global movement for gender equality.

Ashleigh has delivered workshops at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, and advocated for gender equality at the YWCA World Council. In 2019, she was recognized as one of Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

Ashleigh is the Vice-President of YWCA Canberra and a Director of Its Not A Compliment. She is the Deputy Curator of the Canberra Global Shapers Hub and in 2021, was selected as one of 50 young global leaders to attend Davos at the World Economic Forum, and has had her writing published by organisations including the IMF.

Ashleigh holds a BA(Hons) in International Relations/Politics, and a Masters in Diplomacy from ANU.

Lucy Stronach

Lucy Stronach is the current Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. Throughout 2021, Lucy is touring Australia to identify the concerns, needs and experiences of diverse and underrepresented young people before reporting to the Australian Government and United Nations General Assembly.

A graduate of studies in Criminology, Law, and Security, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, Lucy is a passionate advocate for youth justice in both the domestic and international spheres.

Lucy’s work has taken her to the streets of Mumbai to fight for the empowerment of sex workers, to juvenile prisons in San Diego to aid young offenders, and to the UNDP in Bangkok to work with youth leaders in the promotion of human rights and justice.

Before assuming her role as the Youth Rep, Lucy worked across the Indo-Pacific as the Sri Lankan Fellow for DFAT’s New Colombo Plan Scholarship. Part of her program included working in Vietnam to combat the abuse of street children and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking, and after working at Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence, Lucy was named a contributing International Research Fellow where she helped formulate the nation’s first public defence strategy. Her specific interests include Indigenous justice, gender-based crime, penology, and evidence-based practice.

Sian Troath

Sian Troath is currently a research lead at the Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance (JBC), where she researches the impact of digital transformation on Australia’s strategic outlook and defence policies, and theories of trust in international relations.

Sian heads up the trust section of research at the JBC, supervising undergraduate research projects and developing research using trust to appreciate the strategic implications of digital transformation. She completed her PhD at Flinders University in 2020, which focused on creating a theoretical framework for understanding trust in relationships between states, applying this to the history of the relationship between the US and the UK. Sian has also published on trust in the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

Her current areas of research are international relations and the theoretical formulations of trust, trusted governance in the digital age, Australian foreign and defence policy, and trust and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Lavinia Tyrrel

Lavinia Tyrrel is the Head of Technical Delivery and Growth Strategy at Abt Associates Australia, a social impact company which works to improve the quality of people’s lives worldwide.

In 2018 Lavinia was appointed to grow a Technical Practice within Abt. Since then, with her team, the Practice has grown from two technical specialists to seven, has become a thought leader in Australian development thinking, and manages a million-dollar pipeline of work. With her recent promoting into a Head of Role, Lavinia leverages a unique combination of leadership and technical skills. She works closely with donors, partners in country and academic/ non-government organisations, while managing a diverse team including gender, governance, economic and M&E specialists. Her team’s inspiration is to constantly challenge and improve development theory and practice, to ensure that Abt is always achieving the best possible social and economic outcomes for the people it works with.

Lavinia began her career at BRAC Bangladesh, working on a women’s extreme poor program. She then pursued her commitment to social impact and effective policy making in various aid and international policy roles at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Lavinia also worked as the Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor at The Asia Foundation in Thailand– helping test an innovative and politically-informed approach to delivering aid across 11 countries in Asia.

Lavinia is a published author and regionally recognised expert in governance and M&E. She holds bachelors and masters degrees from Monash and the ANU/ UCLA. Additionally, Lavinia follows her commitment to the empowerment of women and girls outside of work too – as a mum to three-year old Ava and a representative women’s volleyball player.


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