Our People

Melissa Conley Tyler

National Executive Director (2006 – 2019)


Melissa H. Conley Tyler served as National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs from January 2006 to March 2019. During 13 years leading the AIIA, she:

  • Achieved a significant media and research profile as a thought leader on Australia’s foreign policy and the region, authoring or co-authoring 160 publications.
  • Established the AIIA’s Australian Outlook blog, reaching up to 40,000 unique visitors per month.
  • Established and built the AIIA’s National Conference as the annual meeting place for the foreign policy, defence and trade community.
  • Oversaw the Australian Journal of International Affairs, regularly ranked in the top 50 journals in its field worldwide.
  • Organised 15 forums to provide input into Australia’s policy agenda and developed partnership programs with six Australian government departments and a dozen foreign government bodies.
  • Delivered more than 40 dialogues to create and sustain networks among Australian and international leaders through track II dialogues involving officials, academics, commentators and business.
  • Oversaw dramatic growth in youth engagement and built stronger relations with other institutes of international affairs worldwide.

Under her leadership, the AIIA was recognised as the Top Think Tank in Southeast and the Pacific and one of the top 50 think tanks worldwide in the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tanks Index for three years running.

In 2017, she co-authored Think Tank Diplomacy, the first-ever book length discussion of the role of think tanks in modern diplomacy.

Melissa is a lawyer and specialist in conflict resolution, including negotiation, mediation and peace education. She was previously Program Manager of the International Conflict Resolution Centre at the University of Melbourne and Senior Fellow of Melbourne Law School. She has an international profile in conflict resolution including membership of the Editorial Board of the Conflict Resolution Quarterly.

In 2008 Ms Conley Tyler was selected as one of the nation’s 1,000 “best and brightest” to participate in the Australia 2020 Summit convened by the Prime Minister to discuss future challenges facing Australia. Later in 2008 she was selected by the Fletcher Alumni Association of Washington D.C. to receive its Young Alumni Award for most outstanding graduate of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy under 40. She is listed in Routledge’s Who’s Who in International Affairs and International Who’s Who of Women.

With more than 15 years’ experience working in community organisations in Australia, South Africa and the U.S.A., Ms Conley Tyler has a strong interest in non-profit management. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Charities Aid Foundation Australia, one of Australia’s largest grant-givers, and the Committee of Management of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture.


Melissa Conley Tyler Publications And Talks 2006 To 2019

Appointment of National Executive Director (February 2006)

Australia 2020 Summit (April 2008)

National Executive Director receives International Award (October 2008)

Encounter with Melissa Conley Tyler, The Age (8 November 2008)


Email: m.conleytyler@internationalaffairs.org.au

Phone: 0409 765 787