Asia Society Australia Team
Philipp Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer
Philipp Ivanov is the Chief Executive Officer of Asia Society Australia, the nation’s leading business and policy think-tank dedicated to Asia. Philipp has an extensive experience in strategy, organisational renewal, policy and research with the focus on Asia, China, foreign policy and international education.
In 2022 he was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in Australian-United States Alliance Studies. He will be based in Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University from September to December 2022.
He is a co-leader of the Asia Taskforce by the Business Council of Australia and Asia Society Australia to advance Australian business engagement with Asia. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Australian Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). His commentary and analysis have appeared in The Australian, ABC, Bloomberg News, CNBC, The Australian Financial Review, Melbourne Asia Review and ChinaFile.
Previously, he was a policy officer with a focus on China at the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Philipp was one of the principal authors of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper - China Country Strategy. Philipp was Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, advised the University of Sydney on the China strategy and managed La Trobe University's partnerships in the Gulf States, Vietnam and Thailand.
Philipp spent over 6 years in China working in education and development. He is the recipient of the ‘Rose Award’ by the Shenyang Municipal Government and the Australian Government’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship under which he conducted research on China's policies for leadership development at the China National Academy of Education Administration in Beijing. Philipp has a Bachelor (Honours) degree in Chinese language and history from the Far Eastern National University in Russia. He also studied in Jilin and Liaoning Normal universities in China.
He holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Management from RMIT University in Australia. He has completed the McKinsey Executive Leadership Program. He is a fluent Chinese and Russian speaker.
Thomas Soem, Executive Director, Sydney and Business Development
Thomas Soem is the Executive Director of Sydney and Business Development at Asia Society Australia. His main responsibilities are business development, fundraising, member and stakeholder engagement, and corporate partnerships to support Asia Society Australia’s strategic objectives and major programs and initiatives. He is contributing to a significant growth in new members, diversification of funding streams and expansion of our national footprint.
Previously, Thomas was the Head of International Research and Development at the University of Sydney. In this role, he managed international research and development projects for the University in Asia and gave strategic advice on international growth, funding opportunities and global partnerships, including in China, Vietnam and India. He secured funding for over 100 projects for the University from national and international agencies, including the Australian Government, the United Nations, the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. He drafted University’s submissions to major government consultations including the Asian Century White Paper, and had representative roles with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australia-Indonesia Centre. Prior to that, Thomas was International Programs Manager at the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific, leading the institute’s executive education program with China.
Thomas is a graduate from the University of Oslo, Norway and the University of Sydney where he studied political science and languages with particular focus on multilateral cooperation and regional integration in Asia.
Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.
Richard Maude, Executive Director, Policy
Richard Maude is Executive Director of Policy at Asia Society Australia and a Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
He is a former senior Australian government official with 30 years’ experience in foreign policy and national security.
From 2018 to 2019, Mr Maude was Deputy Secretary, Indo-Pacific Group, in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australia’s senior official to the East Asia Summit.
In 2017, Mr Maude was head of the whole-of-government taskforce which supported the preparation of the Australian Government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.
Mr Maude was Director-General of the Office of National Assessments from May 2013 until November 2016. Before taking up this position, Mr Maude was the senior adviser on foreign policy and national security issues to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
He has served overseas in Malaysia, where he was Deputy High Commissioner, Singapore and as the Liaison Officer for the Office of National Assessments in the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.
Mr Maude is a member of the Futures Council of the National Security College at the Australian National University.
Niti Saraf, Director, Finance and Operations
Niti Saraf joined Asia Society Australia in March 2021. In her role as the Director of Finance and Operations, she provides core operational and financial capabilities required by the organisation to allow the specialists to focus on their areas of expertise.
Niti was born and educated in India and is a qualified teacher who gave up teaching after a year of teaching Maths and Science to year 7 students at her alma mater. Following this, Niti went on to study MBA from the University of Jammu in India and later worked at India’s largest IT education provider before moving to Australia for love.
In Sydney, Niti studied towards a CPA Australia qualification and has been a member of CPA Australia for the past 20 years. She has built a career specialising in taxation, planning and analysis across the Health, Pharmaceuticals and Recruitment sectors.
Niti is passionate about education for all and believes that an educated society is the key to bringing about a progressive change. For the past 10 years, she has been volunteering as a scribe for high school students with learning/writing disabilities.
Niti is a supporter of diversity and inclusion and makes a conscious effort to be inclusive at all times. She has mentored women from CALD background and has helped them assimilate without giving up their individuality.
James Scullin, Director, Programs
James Scullin joined Asia Society Australia in June 2021. He is a program and project manager with experience developing diverse and tailored programs for Australian business with a focus on Asian business engagement, foreign policy, climate change and cultural awareness.
Prior to Asia Society, James was National Project Manager for the Australia China Business Council (ACBC). In this role, James developed and managed a multitude of projects, working with ACBC’s business membership and Federal and State Governments to foster greater understanding and business engagement with China. His project portfolio included high-level national China policy briefings, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement advocacy across regional Australia, market entry delegations to China, an Australia-China business podcast, and online business support camps.
James has also worked with trade and investment advisory firm TradeWorthy on Asia Development Bank research on Belt and Road integration in ASEAN countries. Previously, James lived and worked in Beijing as an environmental consultant on European Commission climate change and development projects. He also worked as a tour leader to North Korea and in 2020 self-published the photography book Hotels of Pyongyang.
James is a graduate of the University of Melbourne where he holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Environmental Policy. He speaks Chinese and German.
Andrew Deane, Associate Director, Development and Partnerships
Andrew Deane joined Asia Society Australia in January 2020. As Associate Director, Development and Partnerships, he is responsible for supporting existing members, attracting new members and investigating funding opportunities to support the Society’s mission for Australian leaders and community.
Andrew is passionate about understanding member values and interests, being the best way to identify opportunities for meaningful, long-term partnerships. His professional experience stems from 13 years in fundraising and relationship management in the tertiary education and not-for-profit arts sectors in Melbourne and Sydney, in addition to ten years of previous project management experience in Australia, Japan and China in education, research and legal services.
He holds a double degree in Economics (Economic History major) and Asian Studies (Japanese major) from the Australian National University and is currently doing a Master of Business, Arts and Cultural Management at Deakin University. He has spent six years living in both Japan and China, and has studied and speaks fluent Japanese, highly functional Chinese (Mandarin) and basic Indonesian. While at university, Andrew also performed in several of the ANU Japan Centre’s annual Kabuki performances, including a short tour to Nara and Kobe in 1999.
Given his interest in people, Andrew is also a Commonwealth registered marriage celebrant. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.
Sarah Carr, Associate Director, Communications
Sarah Carr joined Asia Society Australia in September 2022. As the Associate Director of Communications, Sarah is responsible for external communication, marketing strategy, content development, production, and management of Asia Society Australia’s key communication platforms.
Beginning her career working in State politics as an Office Manager/Electorate Officer for a State Member of Parliament, Sarah then moved into the position of Communications, Media, and Policy Advisor for the Federal Speaker of the House from 2016-2018.
After leaving politics, she worked as a media and communications expert, in the healthcare sector, specifically aged care and mental health, applying her skills and political knowledge to support both organisations through several respective industry-related royal commissions. Sarah has most recently worked as the first Communications Manager for Harcourts Australia Group, leading the national communications and content production for the real estate company.
Sarah graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations), in 2014, majoring in Political Science and History, with a minor in Bahasa Indonesia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, studied and completed a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations with Deakin University to further expand her knowledge and skillset, graduating at the beginning of April 2021.
Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn
Eloise Dolan, Program Manager
Eloise joined Asia Society Australia in May 2019. As Program Manager, Eloise drives design and delivery of the organisation’s Victoria-based programming. Eloise also leads the national Gen A (Generation Asia) leadership network, a platform committed to connecting and developing the next generation of Asia-focused leaders. In 2021 she was named as a young woman to watch by Young Australians in International Affairs.
Eloise previously worked as the 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 both a board director and volunteer for AFS Intercultural Programs - a volunteer-run international education organisation. Eloise regularly conducts workshops on global competence and works in a team of international trainers to design and facilitate webinar content exploring the intersection of intercultural learning and issues of social justice.
Eloise graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Master of International Relations focussing on China and Southeast Asia. During this time, she also worked at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s International Engagement branch and undertook an internship with Melbourne’s Consular Corps. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia majoring in Asian Studies and French language.
In her spare time Eloise plays soccer for North Melbourne Athletic FC and is a mentor for international students undertaking work experience through Practera, an Australian experiential EdTech company.
Lena Duchene, Program Manager
Lena Duchene joined Asia Society Australia in January 2020. As program manager, she drives Executive Briefings, the organisation’s curated events presented by diplomats and business leaders from the region, and supports the work of the Asia Society Policy Institute in Australia. Since 2021, Lena also leads the annual Asia Briefing LIVE Forum and this year’s edition of Disruptive Asia, focused on women and girls.
She was previously a Program and Speaker Junior Officer at the OECD, where she contributed to the construction of the OECD Forum. Prior to that, Lena worked in L’Oréal’s international development team.
While she remains French at heart, Lena has spent most of her life abroad, living in Germany, Italy, the United States of America, and South Korea. This multicultural upbringing cultivated her interest in cross-cultural relations from a young age.
She obtained a Master of Economics and Business (Cum Laude) from Sciences Po Paris in 2019. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sciences Po Paris, majoring in Political Science and Asian Studies, and spent a year studying at Korea University in South Korea.
Jaimie Dang, Finance and Operations Manager
Jaimie Dang joined Asia Society Australia in January 2020. Prior to this role, Jaimie worked as an Administrative Assistant at Asialink, working across fundraising, events, project assistance and business operations.
Jaimie has worked in administrative roles for over ten years, earning a wealth of experience in office management, event coordination, meeting planning, scheduling, training and coaching new employees, and documenting and maintaining office processes.
She holds a Master in Professional Accounting from Victoria University and Bachelor of Business from Monash University. Jaimie currently lives in Southbank, Melbourne with her husband and daughter, and loves everything about practicing yoga.
Dominique Fraser, Research Associate, Asia Society Policy Institute
Dominique Fraser joined Asia Society Australia in October 2021. She supports the work of the Asia Society Policy Institute in Australia. Prior to this, Dominique worked as Researcher at the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, completing research projects on Covid-19 related hate speech and atrocity prevention risk assessments.
Dominique worked in the field of atrocity prevention for five years in Geneva, gaining experience across research, advocacy, project management and communications at Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
She completed a Master in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2017, following a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in International Relations, from which she graduated as Valedictorian of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Queensland.
Majdina Widodo, Digital Content Producer
Majdina Widodo joined Asia Society Australia in January 2022. As Digital Content Producer, she is involved in the production of video, graphic, and social media content as well as designing physical collateral.
As a digital designer specialised in flat and motion design, she has previously worked with the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) to assist in producing and editing video content for the ‘Stop Beating Around The Bush’ project that aims to represent and inform minority groups about health in the rural health space.
Additionally, she has been involved in a government-funded project endorsed by RMIT aimed to commemorate Australian army nurses that was displayed in Federation Square in August 2022.
Chris Khatouki, Associate
Chris Khatouki joined Asia Society Australia in February 2021. He is a PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales, where his research specialises in the political economy of state violence in East Asia. Prior to joining Asia Society, Chris worked in South Korea for the Gyeongsangnam-do Office of Education.
Chris is also a Councillor at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, NSW. As councillor, he has helped coordinate events and has expanded the institute’s outreach to younger audiences. He has been involved in a number of community initiatives, including founding the largest language exchange program in the Illawarra region, ‘The Language Exchange’.
Chris is passionate about understanding how societies in the Asia-Pacific can economically develop while also maintaining stable structures of political governance. In 2018, he completed his International Relations degree at the University of Wollongong, where his thesis was awarded first class honours and the University Medal for Academic Excellence.
Greg Earl, Editor, Briefing MONTHLY
Greg Earl is the editor of Briefing MONTHLY - a public update with news and original analysis on Asia and Australia-Asia relations, and the essay series Disruptive Asia. Greg was the deputy editor, opinion editor, national affairs editor and Asia Pacific editor of The Australian Financial Review.
He spent more than a decade as a reporter based in Tokyo, Jakarta, and New York. He is now an independent writer, editor and consultant; is researching a book about Australia and Asia; and writes a column on economic diplomacy for The Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter. He is a member of the Australia-ASEAN Council board (AAC); and a former member of the Australian National University Indonesia Project advisory board; the Australia Japan Foundation board; and the steering committee for the Australia-Indonesia Dialogue.
His connection with the region began as a high school Indonesian language student and then as an exchange student in the Philippines. This year he has been a member of an international observer group during the Indian election; attended the Australia-Vietnam Young Leadership Dialogue in Ho Chi Minh City; and served on the selection panel for an AAC Muslim Exchange Program in South East Asia.