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Australia’s development program

New international development policy External Advisory Group (EAG) members

Joanne Choe

Joanne Choe is Head of Program Quality and Gender at DT Global Asia Pacific, one of the major providers of international development services to the Australian aid program. She has 20 years’ experience designing, contracting, implementing, and monitoring Australia development assistance, including almost a decade living and working in the Pacific.

Jo leads DT Global’s Development Effectiveness Unit, which provides advice and support to over 25 Australian aid programs across the Asia Pacific which DT Global manages on behalf of DFAT. Jo also leads DT Global’s gender practice, managing gender initiatives for DFAT as well as ensuring DT Global programs are effectively addressing gender equality and social inclusion. Prior to this Jo led DT Global’s Pacific programs.

Jo is Chair of the International Development Contractor Community Board, the peak body for contractors and consultants that work to deliver Australian international development assistance. She has been a member of the Board since the IDCC’s inception in 2018.

Jo spent 15 years managing development assistance in AusAID and DFAT including leading Australia’s development programs to Fiji and Tuvalu, leading Australia’s response to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji and leading law and justice and subnational governance programs in Papua New Guinea. She has also supported Australian aid to Indonesia, Timor Leste, Lao PDR.

Jo is passionate about gender equality and social inclusion, locally led approaches to development and quality implementation that leads to effective, sustainable development results. As an Australian woman of South Korean heritage, who has represented Australia overseas, Jo is an advocate for diversity, inclusion and the multicultural face of Australia.

The Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Concetta served as Senator for New South Wales in the Australian Senate from 5 May 2005 to 30 June 2022.

During her term, she held various ministerial roles: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services (Sep 2013-Sep 2015); Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General (May-Sep 2015); Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs with varied responsibilities in the Attorney- General, Immigration and Border Protection and Social Services portfolios (Sep 2015-Feb 2016); and Minister for International Development and the Pacific (Feb 2016-Aug 2018).

At various times, Concetta also served as Temporary Chair of Committees and had extensive experience across many Senate and Joint Standing Committee roles including Chair of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation (Jul 2019-Jun 2022).

In Opposition, Concetta also held various shadow ministerial responsibilities including as Shadow Minister for Ageing (Dec 2009-Sep 2013) and Shadow Minister for Mental Health (Sep 2010-Sep 2013).

Before entering politics, Concetta was a lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor (1984-2004) although this included periods of secondment to various roles such as Policy Adviser to the Hon. Jim Carlton MP (1990-1993) and Senior Private Secretary to then Premier John Fahey (1993-1994). She also worked as a consultant for Minter Ellison Lawyers (Oct 2004-Apr 2005).

For 25 years before entering the Senate, Concetta was involved in many different community organisations and activities, with extensive engagement in culturally and linguistically diverse communities including national and international representative roles in the Italian-Australian community (1990s); founding member of a nursing home in the Illawarra (early 1980s); and member, then Chair, of Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets (1999-2004).

In 1998, she was awarded the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic).

Concetta was born in Wollongong, NSW, the daughter of Italian migrants. She graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and European Languages (1980) and a Bachelor of Laws (1982). She is married to Commander John W. Wells (RAN Ret’d).

Dr Robert Glasser

Dr Robert Glasser is the Head of the Climate and Security Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). He was previously the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). UNISDR, with over 100 staff located in regional offices around the world, is the focal point in the United Nations system for efforts to reduce climate and disaster risk. He was a member of the Secretary General’s Senior Management Group and the Deputy Secretary General’s Climate Principals Group.

Dr Glasser has over 30 years of experience as a practitioner, advocate and policy-maker in the areas of climate change, sustainable development and disaster response. Before joining the U.N., he was the Secretary General of CARE International, one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisations, with annual income of about $1 billion and over 10,000 staff active in some 80 countries. From 2003-2007, Dr Glasser was the Chief Executive of CARE Australia. Prior to joining CARE, he was an Assistant Director General at the Australian Government aid agency (AusAID) where his responsibilities ranged from South East Asia programmes, the PNG programme, Corporate Policy and Infrastructure and Environment.

He has also worked on energy and climate change science and policy for the US Department of Energy (Los Alamos National Laboratory-Center for National Security Studies) and on peace and conflict issues at a variety of institutions, including the Cornell University Peace Studies Program, the Centre for International and Strategic Affairs at the University of California, and the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University.

Dr Glasser is on the board of WaterAid Australia, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and ONG Inclusiva. He was previously a board member of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), a global alliance of more than 450 national and international organisations focusing on climate change advocacy and he was the Inaugural Board Chairman of the CHS International Alliance, a new organisation resulting from the merger of People in Aid and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership. He was also previously the Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (an organization comprised of the CEOs/Secretary Generals of the largest NGOs/international organisations involved in disaster response).

Dr Glasser was an Advisory Panel member of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, a member of the Principals Steering Group of the United Nations Transformative Agenda for Humanitarian Action; and a member of the Project Steering Group for the World Economic Forum project on The Future Role of Civil Society.

An Australian national, he has published on several topics, including climate change and disaster risk, peace and conflict, and humanitarian and development policy.

Dr Sandra Hamid

Dr. Sandra Hamid is the Country Representative of The Asia Foundation Indonesia. Prior to assuming the leadership position in November 2011, she served as Senior Director for Programs in Jakarta; led the Foundation’s work in post-tsunami Aceh; and contributed to the election program at the outset of the democratic reform era that followed the end of the authoritarian Suharto regime. Sandra is a development specialist with over three decades of experience, and prior to that she was a journalist and researcher. Her passion for religious freedom and pluralism, vibrant civil society, and political participation in Indonesia have motivated her throughout her career.

Sandra has been recognized within and outside the Foundation for her outstanding leadership and deep knowledge of Indonesian society, political economy, and religion. She is a three-time recipient of The Asia Foundation’s Presidential Award for Exceptional Performance. She also was awarded a Summer Fellowship at Stanford University’s Draper- Hills Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law; and was a fellow at the Center for Indonesian Law and Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne where she wrote a widely-read monograph, Normalizing Intolerance: Election, Religion, and Everyday life in Indonesia. She was a recipient of Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree on Cultural Anthropology from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana – where she received her doctorate in the same field.

Professor Stephen Howes

Stephen is a Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, where he is the Director of the Development Policy Centre. He served as Director of the International and Development Economics program of the Crawford School from 2009 to 2014.

His research focuses on aid effectiveness, economic development in Papua New Guinea, and Pacific labour mobility.

Prior to joining the Crawford School, Stephen was Chief Economist at the Australian Agency for International Development. He worked from 1994 to 2005 at the World Bank, first in Washington and then in Delhi, where he was Lead Economist for India.

In 2005, after joining AusAID, Stephen was a member of the three-person Core Group whose report formed the basis for the 2006 Australian Aid White Paper. In 2008, he worked on the Garnaut Review on Climate Change, where he managed the Review’s international work stream. In 2010-11, Stephen was a member of the five-person panel that wrote the Independent Review of [Australian] Aid Effectiveness.

Stephen is a member the three-person Independent Advisory Group (IAG) appointed by the PNG Treasurer to review PNG’s 2000 Central Banking Act. He is Chair of Femili PNG, a PNG NGO that supports survivors of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea.

He is a member of the Advisory Group appointed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the (Pacific Australia Labour Mobility) scheme. In 2021, he chaired an interdepartmental working group established by DFAT to promote Pacific participation in Australia’s Temporary Skills Shortage Visa.

Stephen served as a Board Member for CARE Australia, and Chair of the CARE Program and Operations Committee from 2012 to 2019. He has previously served on the Board of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, and on the Advisory Council of the Asian Development Bank Institute.

Stephen co-edits, the blog of the Development Policy Centre, which focuses on Australian aid and development, PNG and Pacific development, and global development policy.

Kylie Porter

Until December 2022, Kylie Porter was the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Australia, the Australian Local Network of the United Nations Global Compact. Whilst Executive Director, Kylie was also a member of the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Expert Advisory Group, a board member of the UN Global Compact and held the positions of Co-Chair of the UN Global Compact’s Global Network Council and Chair of the Regional Network Council for the Asia Oceania region.

Kylie is an experienced and well-regarded sustainability leader with 20 years’ of experience in the corporate and international development sectors. She holds expertise in advising and managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) reputation risk for business and leading on and integrating responsible business initiatives into company strategies and operations.

As Executive Director, Kylie led a team of experts across the fields of business and human rights, climate change, anti-bribery and corruption and sustainable development, including growing the team from one employee to a team of nine. As a result, Kylie ensured support for a growing group of participants, increasing from 92 to over 250, including over 50 ASX listed companies, with strong loyalty from participants over her term.

Kylie also led the expansion of grant funding from the Federal Government for the delivery of the Government’s National Action Plan on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking; the establishment of the Dhawura Ngilan Initiative; the development and management of the Bribery Prevention Network; and funding to assist DFAT with advancing private sector development, engagement, and economic diplomacy across the Indo-Pacific region. Prior to joining the UNGCNA, Kylie worked in sustainability and social impact roles within financial services, professional services, and international development, including expatriate work in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

She holds a Bachelor of Business (Management) and Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) from Monash University, and a Masters’ Degree in Social Science (International Development) from RMIT University. Kylie is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Director’s Course and is about to start the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship Programme through the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership.

Serena Sasingian

Serena has over 10 years’ experience in the field of development and public policy, where she has worked in government, and the private and not for profit sectors. She is currently the CEO of Digicel Foundation PNG, a not-for-profit organisation committed to building community and community spirit through advancing education that is inclusive and healthcare that is accessible. Prior to that she was the head of Expansion Programs at Oil Search Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, she worked as a senior Policy Lawyer with the Department of Justice and Attorney General where she oversaw the implementation of domestic violence legislation and the Governments Action Plan to address Sorcery and Witchcraft related violence.

Before this, Serena worked as the Executive Director for a not-for-profit organisation she co- founded called “The Voice Inc.”, which promotes youth leadership and focuses on increasing citizens led development to solve problems in their communities. She has also served on the boards of several organisations including Femili PNG, which is a non-governmental organisation that runs a Case Management Centre in Lae to assist survivors of family sexual violence access essential services and the Lowy Institute’s, PNG-Australia Network that holds various events to increase people to people links between both countries. Her work in the not-for-profit sector led to her appointment as the Asia Pacific representative to the board of advisors for the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm, Sweden from 2019-2021.

Serena holds a Bachelor of Law (Honors) from the University of PNG and a Master of Business specialising in philanthropy and NFP studies from the QLD University of Technology.

The Hon Lisa Singh

Lisa Singh is a former Australian Senator and was the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the Australian Parliament. She is also a former Tasmanian Member of Parliament and was a Minister in the Tasmanian Government. She is currently the CEO of the Australia India Institute, a leading research and policy think tank advancing Australia- India relations at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this, Lisa worked as Head of Government Advocacy for Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free, an international human rights organisation working to end modern slavery and human trafficking.

She is also Deputy Chair of the Australian Government’s Australia-India Council and sits on the Advisory Boards of the University of Melbourne’s Asialink and the University of New South Wales’ Human Rights Institute.

Lisa’s parliamentary career focused on the promotion and protection of human rights, trade and international development, climate change, governance and access to justice. She served as a Minister in the Tasmanian Government for Workplace Relations, Corrections and Consumer Protection, and Climate Change; and as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney-General, and for the Environment, Climate Change and Water in the Australian Parliament. As Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Group for UNICEF, in 2018 Lisa led a delegation to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. She was also Co-Chair of the Australian TB Caucus; Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Group on HIV and a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, and the Joint Committee on Law Enforcement as its Deputy Chair.

In 2014, Lisa was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India for building friendly Australia-India relations, the highest civilian honour for a person of Indian origin. Representing Australia as an influential professional, Lisa has been advancing Australia’s social and economic ties with the Indo-Pacific region for over a decade. In 2016, representing Australia, Lisa was seconded to the United Nations General Assembly as an Australian government delegate. She continues to actively participate in inter-country dialogues and recently hosted and co-chaired the Track 1.5 Australia India Leadership Dialogue in New Delhi.

Lisa was a member of the Multinational Observer Group for the 2022 Fiji elections, and the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the 2019 Solomon Islands General Elections. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Master of International Relations.

Dr Helen Szoke AO

Dr Helen Szoke has had a career spanning community, health, education, regulation, and international development.

She is a non-executive Director, and member of the Council of the University of Melbourne, and the Boards of Life Without Barriers, the Climate Ready Initiative of Griffith University, and the Judicial Commission of Victoria. Helen has sat on numerous advisory boards addressing bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the health, legal and sports sector, including leading reviews.

From 2013-2019, Helen was the Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam Australia. Prior to that appointment, she served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.

She is a mother and stepmother to eight children and shares grandparenting of nine grandchildren with her husband Jonathan Tribe.

Professor Peter Yu AM

Professor Peter Yu AM is a Yawuru man from Broome in the Kimberley region in Northwest Australia with over 40 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley, and at the state, national and international levels.

As an advocate for the social, cultural and economic advancement and well-being of Kimberley and other Aboriginal communities for his entire career, Professor Yu has been instrumental in the development of many community-based organisations and initiatives which have had an enduring influence on the Kimberley region.

He was Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council, and a member of the national leadership team negotiating the Federal Government's response to the 1992 Mabo High Court judgement. Professor Yu was a key negotiator on behalf of the Yawuru Native Title Holders with the Western Australian Government, and recently was Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group, he was the Chair of the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) to the Northern Ministerial Forum on Northern Development.

Professor Yu is the current inaugural Vice-President, First Nations Portfolio at the Australian National University. He is also deputy Chair of the Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Board member of Watertrust Australia, Trustee of the Princes Trust Australia, a JANA Sustainability Advisory Council Member, and Chair of the Australian Advisory Group to Rio Tinto.

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