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2022 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 2022.

We face an increasingly complex, uncertain and challenging world. It’s never been so important we are elevating and promoting women, and particularly the next generation of Australian women, in international affairs.

Each year, YAIA’s Women to Watch list aims to shine the spotlight on Australia’s next generation of women working across government, academia, think tanks, the private sector and civil society across the broad horizon of international affairs. Despite great strides, these 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.

After receiving more outstanding 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.

Jane Aslanidis

Jane Aslanidis GAICD is a global executive, who influences key decision-makers in strategic programme and policy direction. She is respected for her unique perspectives, her balance of technology and digital innovation with international relations, and her ability to turn ideas into investible action.

Jane has earned a strong reputation as a top-tier principal consultant and team leader, honing her skills at Boston Consulting Group in London, UN World Food Programme in Rome and PwC in Sydney. She is a Board Member and holds a Masters from UNSW. She is an author for international and UN publications and a mentor to innovators at start-up accelerators and universities.

Jane has been recommended for her influence, contribution and advocacy for women's leadership. Jane is one of these rising stars - the next generation of female leaders in Australia. She is recognised for her recent work as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate with the UN World Food Programme and co-designer of The Earthshot Prize spearheaded by Prince William.

Noor Azizah

Noor is a 26 year old former Rohingya refugee, she resettled with her family in Sydney in 2003 at the age of 8 fleeing the atrocities happening in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. Noor Azizah is a refugee delegate at the United Nations in Geneva where she also spoke at The Global Refugee Forum (2019) as a keynote speaker advocating for Rohingya woman.

She is part of the Gender Audit Team (UNSW & UNHCR), Member of the ATCR Refugee Steering Group (Annual Tripartite Consultation on Resettlement UNHCR), Young Migrant and Refugee Women's advisory board (Harmony Alliance), Youth Advisory Council for the U.S. Consulate in Sydney and international Rohingya women's network (Fortify Rights).

Noor is extremely passionate about the right's of children and women to receive education. She is currently working as a English as a Second Dialect teacher at a primary school in Sydney and loves languages, travelling, culture and going on waterfall adventures. Noor holds a Bachelor of Primary Education from the University of Sydney.

Tevvi Bullock

Tevvi is an incoming PhD candidate at Monash University's Gender, Peace and Security Centre, investigating the climate crisis and gender mainstreaming in humanitarian action in the Asia-Pacific region. She is also a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Non-Resident Fellow and Young Leader at the Honolulu-based think tank Pacific Forum International, and one of 20 globally selected Women in International Security 2021/22 Gender, Peace and Security Next Generation Fellows.

Tevvi has broad experience in the field of international affairs, and in the past few years has presented her research on gender, climate, and security to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command WPS Office, co-chaired the international conference "Advancing WPS in the Indo-Pacific", tutored courses in international relations, diplomacy, and policymaking at the Australian National University (ANU), participated as delegate (Observer - Australia) at the 2021 ASEAN Youth Conference, and volunteered with UN Women and Climate for Change. Fluent in German, she was awarded the 2020 AGA & Goethe-Institute Fellowship to conduct research in Germany on climate change and women's civil society organisations, and has co-authored short pieces published by the LSE Centre for WPS.

Tevvi holds an Advanced Master of Diplomacy from ANU, a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Peace and Security from Monash University, and a Bachelor of Global Studies from the University of Technology Sydney.

Rosanna Chisholm

Rosanna is an economic adviser to the Australian Treasury and is currently one of two Treasury representatives at the Australian High Commission in London. Rosanna is responsible for reporting and analysis of economic developments in the UK and Europe, building key stakeholder relationships across sectors, and transferring economic policy learnings back to Australia. She has provided advice on a range of issues, from to stabilising critical workforce pressures, to sanctions on Russia, and to developments on central bank digital currencies.

In Treasury's Macroeconomic Conditions Division, Rosanna led a team responsible for Australia's global and major trading partner economic growth forecasts during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has advised government on a range of international macroeconomic, fiscal and revenue policy issues, and was also key forecaster on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Rosanna was selected to support a project with the Papua New Guinean Treasury to help facilitate private investment into agriculture, and completed an in-country visit to assist.

Previously, Rosanna worked in the University of Queensland's (UQ) International Development Unit and supported several short courses for the Australian Aid and Diplomatic Training Program. Rosanna holds a Masters of Governance and Public Policy majoring in Governance and Development from the UQ and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne.

Renee Cremer

Originally from the Sunshine Coast, Renee Cremer is a proud Yuin woman. She is currently a stay at home mum, living in Miles, Queensland. Renee is due to commence a Diploma of Arabic this month and has been selected to partake in the U.S.-Australia Alliance Regional workshop.

In 2021 Renee had the honour of representing Australian youth as Australia's first ever delegate to the G7 Youth Engagement Forum (Y7). She was also a Global Voices Scholar part of the delegation to the 2019 OECD Forum in Paris. During this time she wrote a policy paper on improving engagement and integration outcomes for unskilled and underemployed female migrants living in regional and rural Australia.

Renee is a 2022 finalist in the 7News Young Achievers Awards First National Real Estate Leadership category. In 2020 Renee was selected as a RedXYouth Activator and received the Jewish Holocaust Museum Wilson Family Scholarship for her commitment to social sciences.

Renee graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and policy studies in 2021. Renee looks forward to developing a career in federal policy and international relations and hopes to inspire other young Indigenous women, and mothers especially, to pursue their passions with tenacity and dedication.

Taylor Dee Hawkins

Taylor is Managing Director of Foundations for Tomorrow, a non-partisan NFP with the mission of future-proofing Australia's interests. In 2021, Foundations for Tomorrow conducted Australia's largest consultation run by and for youth, uncovering what young Australians want our future to look like. Now, Foundations for Tomorrow is focused on creating non-partisan spaces of collaborative intergenerational policy design.

Taylor also holds several leadership roles within the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community, including sitting on the Global Advisory Council, being a member of The Davos Lab Taskforce and sitting on the Board of Directors for the Global Shapers Community Australia Ltd. She has also been invited as one of 24 young leaders to attend the 2022 World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos.

Taylor has been recognised in Smart Company's 30 under 30, is a Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneer, is part of the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program, and has been trained by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader. Taylor also represented DFAT's Australian Youth for International Climate Engagement working group at COP26 in Glasgow.

Nicole Doughty

Nicole is an experienced foreign policy professional and trade negotiator, currently Assistant Director at the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, working to promote Australia's agricultural interests in Australia's free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Nicole was recently posted as a diplomat at the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong. As Consul (Political/Economic), she covered significant developments including the 2019 protests, the introduction of the national security law, arrests of pro-democracy politicians and activists, and the COVID-19 response.

Nicole joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Graduate in 2015. As a trade negotiator at DFAT, she led trade remedies negotiations in Canberra, Lima, Santiago, Ottawa, and Brussels to grow Australia's export markets and reduce barriers to trade for goods. This included negotiations for the ongoing European Union FTA, Australia's second largest trading partner, as well as the Pacific Alliance FTA, a regional trading bloc comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. She successfully concluded negotiations for a trade agreement with Peru in 2017.

Nicole has a First Class Honours degree in Psychology and a Juris Doctor from the University of Sydney, and a Graduate Diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Dominique Fraser

Dominique is Research Associate at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Australia, which she joined in October 2021. She undertakes research and analysis on foreign policy and human security issues facing Australia and Asia.

Prior to this, Dominique worked in the field of atrocity prevention in Geneva. She established the Geneva office of the New York-based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, where she led the advocacy efforts to incorporate an atrocity prevention lens at the UN Human Rights Council. Later, she joined the Secretariat of GAAMAC (Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes), where she co-organised the global meeting GAAMAC III in Uganda, bringing together atrocity prevention actors from government, academia, think-tanks, and regional and international organisations.

Dominique has published widely on human rights abuses and atrocity prevention in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific and she is co-founder of the online R2P Student Journal.

Dominique holds a Master in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Queensland, from which she graduated as Valedictorian of the Faculty of Humanitarian and Social Sciences.

Felicity Gray

Felicity is a PhD scholar at the Australian National University, specialising in civilian protection, and the Advocacy Lead for Nonviolent Peaceforce in Washington D.C. Her doctoral research focuses on the possibilities and limitations of nonviolent practices in the protection of civilians. Her research spans a range of contexts, including South Sudan, Myanmar, and the USA.

Previously, Felicity was a senior adviser to Senators Milne, Di Natale, and Ludlam on foreign affairs, defence policy, and parliamentary business, and a protection team leader for Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan. Felicity's research and policy interests include protection of civilians and atrocity prevention. Her work has been published and is forthcoming in a range of leading journals.

Felicity has also contributed to policy conversations through Women Peace and Security Forum (LSE), and previously as a co-editor at Green Agenda. She was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award and prestigious Endeavour Scholarship. She has held fellowships at the Berghof Foundation (Berlin) and The Zolberg Institute (New York City).

Felicity holds a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from ANU, and a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) from the University of Tasmania, for which she received the University Medal.

Emily Heng Zhi Qin

Emily is the Director of Operations at the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA). She leads the strategic operations across the Australia Chapters, Indonesia Chapters, and Digital team. She has led projects that not only strengthen people-to-people links but engage with high-level partners including the Indonesian Foreign Ministry (Kemlu), Australian government, education providers and NGOs.

Through AIYA, she has overseen and organised over 100 events for young people interested in the bilateral relationship. Emily's contribution to the bilateral relationship led to her being selected as one of the nine Australian women for the 2021 Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program.

Emily is passionate the Indo-Pacific region. She has worked as a Program Assistant at Generate Worldwide, an international affairs consultancy, where she coordinated the Australia-ASEAN CoLab, a DFAT-funded social entrepreneurship program. She has also represented Malaysia as a Youth Delegate in the ASEAN-Australia Young Leaders Forum. Emily has interned at Invest Victoria, where she researched key investors and start-ups in Southeast Asia in line with Victoria's priority sectors, and prepared briefs for Victoria's Commissioner to Southeast Asia.

Emily is in her final year of a Bachelor of Global Studies and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Monash University. She speaks English, Mandarin and Indonesian.

Kiriloi Ingram

Kiriloi recently submitted her PhD thesis with the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland (UQ), which analyses the Islamic State’s propaganda constructions and manipulation of gender to mobilise both female and male transnational audiences.

Kiriloi’s research focuses on the role of gender in violent extremist propaganda and politico-military strategy and professionally, she works as a practitioner developing and implementing gender-sensitive peacebuilding and countering violent extremism programmes with civil society actors in Southeast Asian communities infiltrated by violent extremist groups. She has also supported programme development in Raqqa, Syria. Her work equips and empowers local women to develop their own strategies to build meaningful peace in their local communities.

Kiriloi is also sessional lecturer at UQ and at Charles Sturt University. She has published extensively with international forums, including the International Centre for Counter Terrorism at The Hague, Lawfare, VOX-Pol, ABC Australia, and the Australian Institute for International Affairs, as well as in high ranking academic journals including ‘Terrorism and Political Violence’ and ‘Journal for Deradicalization’. In 2019, Kiriloi was recognised and appointed as a Pacific Forum Young Leader.

Kiriloi also holds a Bachelor of Arts with an extended major in Political Science from UQ, and a Bachelor of International Security Studies from the Australian National University.

Jennifer Jackett

Jennifer is a Sir Roland Wilson Scholar at the National Security College at the Australian National University. Her research examines the role of United States allies in US-China competition for leadership over advanced technologies.

Jennifer’s analysis has appeared in publications including the Australian Financial Review, The Interpreter, and Australian Outlook. In 2021, Jennifer was awarded the Joan Uhr prize for outstanding public policy research.

Jennifer is currently on leave from the Australian Government. She is an experienced national security policy adviser and people manager and was most recently a Senior Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and has also held roles in the Cabinet Secretary’s Office, Department of Defence, and Office of National Intelligence.

Jennifer is a Non-Resident Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University where she researches opportunities for US-Australia technology cooperation. Jennifer has been on Institute for Regional Security’s Board of Directors since 2018.

Jennifer holds a Master of National Security Policy from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (International) with First Class Honours and the University Medal in Geography from Sydney University. Jennifer speaks Spanish and some Arabic.

Natasha Jha Bhaskar

Natasha is General Manager of Newland Global Group, a leading corporate advisory firm headquartered in Sydney, Australia, which aims at simplifying and strengthening trade and investment between Australia and India. With her 12 years of work experience at the Indian Parliament in policy analysis, advocacy and communication, Natasha is driven by the ambition to build connections, insights, and capabilities, within the bilateral trade and investment ecosystem.

She is a frequent contributor to media and think tank publications, been a delegate to Parliament conferences of SAARC, ASEAN, BRICS, participant to National Legislators Conference, ORF's Raisina Dialogue, speaker at ORF's Colaba Conversation and India Global Week 2020, among many others.

Natasha has contributed to bilateral strategy papers; is Non-resident Indo Pacific fellow 2022 at The Perth USAsia Centre; 2022 UN Women Australia MBA scholarship recipient; Deliberative Democratic Exchange Fellow 2019 (Kettering Foundation, USA); Commonwealth Travel Bursary recipient; Young Professional of the Year, 2019 and Youth Ambassador 2021 and 2022 (India Australia Business and Community Awards (IABCA)).

Natasha holds Bachelor degree in History from LSR, Delhi University, Master of Public Policy as a Commonwealth scholar from UBD, Brunei Darussalam and Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communication from MCRC, JMI University, New Delhi.

Inaara Jindani

Inaara is an urban planner, currently working at Transport for NSW and studying a Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development at the University of Newcastle, co-certified by the United Nations Institute of Training and Research. Inaara previously worked in the Global Solutions Division of UN Habitat where she was re-developing an international Strategic Planning Guideline in line with the SDG goals for the developing world.

Inaara has worked within local and federal government organisations including the City of Sydney and Infrastructure Australia. At Infrastructure Australia, Inaara was a contributing Author to the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan to the Australian Government. She is also a keen advocate for culturally competent urban planning practice in Australia in order to enable formal inclusion for this in line with western international counterparts.

Additionally, Inaara has 7 years experience formally advising government and non-government on increasing policy outcomes for young people, women and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This has also enabled her to previously lead an international civic service programme in Australia and New Zealand; Ismaili Civic which has globally enabled Shia Ismaili Muslims to contribute to the communities in which they live and work.

Amy Keough

Amy is an Australian diplomat currently serving as First Secretary (Geoeconomic) at the High Commission in New Delhi, working on driving growth in bilateral economic ties, including on climate, energy and resources.

Amy was previously posted as Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta (2018-2021), where she drove bilateral political and parliamentary engagement. She served as Executive Officer to Ambassador Gary Quinlan AO during the early pandemic response, and was later deployed to help manage the Consulate-General in Makassar. She co-founded the Jakarta Women's Diplomatic Network.

Joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Graduate (2015), she worked on Indian Ocean regional issues, Southeast Asia, strategic policy planning, and the Australia Volunteers International program. Prior to joining DFAT, Amy worked on education policy at the NSW Department of Education, and as a political consultant in the UK and Sydney. She helped set up the NSW Australia-Indonesia Youth Association and was selected for the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program.

Amy speaks Indonesian, French and Spanish, and holds a First Class Honours degree in International Studies from the University of New South Wales, including a year at Sciences Po, Paris.

Alex Lia

Alex is a public international lawyer and the Executive Officer of International Division at the Attorney-General's Department. Alex also serves as the Co-Chair of the department's Pride Network and provides advice to the department on issues affecting LGBTIQA+ staff. Alex is undertaking a Master of Laws specialising in international law at the Australian National University.

Alex previously worked in the Office of International Law and completed a secondment to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Prior to this, Alex worked as a researcher at Humanitarian Advisory Group where she evaluated humanitarian programs and conducted research on the protection of civilians in violent contexts. Alex's research was published by DFAT, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Australian Civil Military Centre.

Alex volunteers as the Secretary of the Australian Red Cross ACT International Humanitarian Law Advisory Committee, the Chair of the Board of Sanctuary Australia and as a tutor in the Adult Migrant English Program. Alex previously volunteered for Oxfam Australia, Refugee Legal and the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti. In 2019, Alex was awarded a Future 500 Leaders Women's Governance Scholarship by the Institute of Community Directors Australia for her contributions to the community sector.

Nicola Love

Nicola Love is currently working as Multilateral Policy Officer at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, where she represents Australia at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Office on Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

She supports a diverse portfolio of policy and legal issues, including international security, human rights, democracy, crime and criminal justice, and leads the Mission’s engagement with the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. She is also the Mission’s focal point on gender and is passionate about elevating gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Previously, Nicola gained a variety of experiences in the NGO and public sectors, including roles in international law, policy, project management and communications in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland, and interned in the disarmament section of the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Nicola holds a Master of International Relations and European Studies from the University of Florence in Italy, and a Bachelor of Arts (Languages)/Bachelor of Laws from Western Sydney University. She speaks fluent Italian and is learning French and German.

Ayesha Lutschini

Ayesha is the Gender Equality, Disability, Social Inclusion and Safeguarding Lead on the PNG Australia Transition to Health program, an Australian Government initiative and managed by Abt Associates, supporting health system strengthening to improve the health and wellbeing for Papua New Guinean women, girls, men and boys, including those with disabilities. Ayesha was the Senior Program Manager on the PNG Australia Governance Partnership between 2017-2020, supporting the Government of PNG's implementation and review of the public service GESI policy.

At 22, Ayesha co-founded Meri Toksave which was responsible for the development of PNG's first country wide directory of emergency services for those affected by family and sexual violence. Ayesha is a fellow at the Resolution Project and the Royal Commonwealth Society. Ayesha was a runner up for the 2013 Women's Weekly Women of the Future Award and the 2016 Queen's Young Leader Award. Ayesha holds Board Positions with the One-Woman Project and Equal Playing Field.

Ayesha holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Science (Development), Bachelor Degree in International Relations & Peace and Conflict and has commenced postgraduate studies in Governance and Public Policy.

Mary Nega

Mary is the CEO of Global Voices, an independent, youth-led, not-for-profit organisation which aims to equip young Australians with practical experience in diplomacy and advocacy by enabling them to undertake a policy fellowship and attend an international summit including at the UN, OECD, WHO, and WB.

Mary completed a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne and studied international political economy at LSE. She was one of four official Australian delegates to the G20 youth summit and received the University of Melbourne Commerce Alumni Leadership Scholarship for contributions to the community.

She has since been admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria, worked as a judge's associate, interned at the Victorian Law Reform Commission and undertook a traineeship with a leading social justice law firm.

Passionate about supporting CALD communities, Mary was president of the African student body at the University of Melbourne, Vice-President of the African Australian Legal Network and a 4-year member of the Multicultural Youth Network, tasked with providing advice to Victorian Government and on issues facing multicultural youth. Mary holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne, where she was Chair of the Public Interest Law Network and was elected valedictorian of her graduating class.

Alice Ridge

Alice Ridge is the Senior Research, Policy & Advocacy Advisor at the International Women's Development Agency leading advocacy on feminist foreign policy, funding for women's rights organisations and international development.

At IWDA, Alice has worked with international partners and women from the Global South to advance global discussions on principles and accountability mechanisms of feminist foreign policy. In 2021 she oversaw research exploring pathways to adopting feminist foreign policies, and is now at the forefront of efforts to translate that research into action, leading the creation of the Australian Feminist Foreign Policy Coalition.

Prior to joining IWDA, Alice worked for five years with the Australian Council for International Development. In this role she led significant sector-wide projects including Australia Ahead of the Curve; research on the experience of implementing gender audits in international development organisations; and ACFID's 2018 independent review on preventing sexual misconduct, where as project manager she was instrumental in ensuring a survivor-centred approach.

Alice is an Advisor to the W7 and contributes to global advocacy coalitions in multilateral forums including the Commission on the Status of Women. Alice holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Melbourne) and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Mainstreaming and Analysis (Flinders University).

Kimberly Robinson

Kimberly is currently the Second Secretary and Consul at the Australian Embassy in Seoul, working in corporate services running the operations of the Embassy, but also providing consular assistance and support to Australians overseas.

Kimberly joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a corporate management graduate in 2017. Kimberly has worked across various key corporate areas within the department but has specialized in consular affairs and crisis. She has worked in crisis such as the 2019 Easter Sri Lanka bombings, the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand and assisting stranded Australians working both in Canberra and overseas throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to working in South Korea, she has also worked at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok as a consular officer and completed Korean language training.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Government and Commercial Law from the Australian National University as well as exchanges at Oxford University in the UK and Yonsei University in South Korea.

Kristine Tay

Kris Tay is Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Myanmar, steering Australia's gender equality aid program and foreign policy priorities. After the military coup and COVID-19 pandemic, Kris ensured assistance to women for sexual and reproductive healthcare, psychosocial support and refuge from gender-based violence. She developed DFAT's flagship gender equality investment in Myanmar, supporting women at the grassroots to deliver essential services and elevating marginalised voices.

Kris' career has focussed on the rights of racial and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTI people. At OutRight Action International, New York, she represented Global South LGBTIQ leaders at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. At the Australian High Commission, South Africa, Kris founded a partnership working on hate crimes against queer women in black and coloured townships, and analysed institutional racism and intersex human rights.

Kris has held roles in Cambodia (LICADHO), UK (Fair Trials International), Mozambique (LambdaMoz), Canada (UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic), and Australia (DFAT, Minus18, Castan Centre for Human Rights.

Kris is a proud Chinese-Malaysian Australian. She won the Leadership in Government Graduate of the Year Award and the Sir John Monash Medal for Outstanding Achievement. Kris holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours), Bachelor of Science and Diploma of International Affairs with Monash University, and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from ANU.

Thenu Herath

Thenu is the CEO of Oaktree, a non-profit that supports young people in the Asia-Pacific region to lead sustainable development initiatives in their communities. Recently, her team has pioneered a new approach to international development that focuses on solidarity, decolonisation and collaboration. In 2021, Thenu was invited to share this approach at the Australian Council for International Development's Annual Conference, alongside representatives from DFAT and other leading Development NGO's.

She has previously worked with World Vision, Teach for Australia and was the first female host of the Australian Institute of International Affairs' Dyason House Podcast. Alongside her role at Oaktree, Thenu is also a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and a co-author of Australia's first youth national security strategy.

The proud daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, Thenu's belief in human rights, empathy and justice is unwavering. She envisions a world where governments, civil society and the private sector can come together to provide innovative solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time. Thenu holds a Bachelors degree in Politics and International Studies and is currently completing her Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne.

Ellen Walker

Ellen is an Assistant Director at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She currently advises on Australia’s international multilateral cyber and tech engagement, including leading Australia's engagement on these issues in the ASEAN Regional Fora, and advising on regional implementation of the United Nations' norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.

Prior to joining DFAT, Ellen had a decade of experience working in the Australian Public Service across numerous departments. Elle has significant experience working on a number of multilateral instrument and treaty negotiations, including on international cybercrime cooperation and enhanced cooperation and disclosure of electronic evidence for criminal matters. She previously worked in London for the Australian Federal Police.

Ellen’s particular interests include the protection of human rights online, especially the cross-section of gender issues with cyber and emerging technology.

Deborah Zhang

Deborah is the National President of the Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA), a secondary teacher, and a passionate advocate for youth involvement in international affairs.

Prior to assuming her current role, Deborah served in the Education and People-to-People pillars of the organisation, and as the Delegates Director for the 10th Australia-China Emerging Leaders Summit and Co-Convenor of the Indo-Pacific Student Mobility Youth Dialogue. Through her engagement with ACYA, she has spearheaded initiatives to facilitate people-to-people connections across the bilateral relationship, develop the cultural capabilities of emerging leaders, and promote diversity and inclusion in the Australia-China space.

Deborah currently volunteers as the Senior Operations Manager of CHASE (Community Health Advancement and Student Engagement), a health literacy not-for-profit which engages students in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs through education and mentorship. She has a strong professional interest in the development of Asia literacy amongst students and educators.

Deborah holds a first class Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Master of Teaching (Secondary) from the University of Melbourne, where she was awarded the W. T. Mollison Scholarship in Modern Languages. She has studied Mandarin at Peking University.


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