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NSW Executive & Council 2023/2024

The NSW Executive and Council were elected at the AGM on October 31, 2023 and will be in their elected positions until the next AGM.


Ian Lincoln

Ian Lincoln has been president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, New South Wales, since December 2017. He was vice president from 2015 to 2017 and a member of the AIIA NSW council from 2013. He has previously been a member of the AIIA national conference organising committee, the Australian  Outlook commissioning editors group and the national programming working group. He was a member of the AIIA Victoria council from 1993 to 1997.

Ian was in the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1967 to 2000 with postings in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Europe. Policy work in Canberra included South Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East, arms control, the United Nations, and intelligence policy. He was Consul-General in Noumea, Ambassador to Vietnam, Director of the Foreign Affairs office in Victoria and Deputy High Commissioner in New Zealand. He worked as a training consultant to a number of government departments in Canberra from 2000 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004 he was a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal in Sydney. He graduated with first-class honours in history and political science, with a major in psychology, from the University of Queensland and later obtained an M.Phil. in international relations at the London School of Economics.


Vice Presidents

Thom Dixon

Thom Dixon is undertaking a PhD at Macquarie University looking at emerging technology and international security. He is an honorary research fellow with Remi AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Australia and the US. In 2018, he completed a Non-resident WSD-Handa Fellowship with the Pacific Forum on synthetic biology and Australian foreign policy. Thom is an Emerging Leader alumni of the 2017 EU-Australia Leadership Forum and he is the Manager, National Security and Defence  at Macquarie University. He regularly writes on issues that occur across research, innovation and international affairs. He is particularly interested in the convergence of engineering biology and artificial intelligence and the impact they will have on international relations.


Isabel Freudenstein 

Isabel Freudenstein is Chair of the Australian Red Cross Rising Women Leaders and currently works at Pan Macmillan as a paralegal. Isabel holds a Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies in Politics and International Relations with First Class honours from the University of Sydney and is currently studying a Juris Doctor at the University of Sydney. Her thesis examined the changing nature of humanitarian intervention in a multipolar international system. She previously clerked at a Sydney law firm and is also a member of the United States Studies Centre’s Women in the Alliance Network.



Michael Lee
Michael Lee
Michael  Lee is the CEO of Global Management Strategic Focus Pty Ltd.  The company specialises in business advice, acquisitions, divestments and business turnaround. He retired from the Australia Industry Group (AIG)  in 2022.  He is still a mentor to many young professionals. In 2019, he invested in a start up online Wellbeing company, Inner Origin Pty Ltd and was appointed personal coach & mentor to the CEO.

He joined the Zip Industries Group in 2001 as group finance director and was promoted to chief operating officer during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. He retired as CEO of the company in December 2014.

Prior to working at ZIP, he worked as finance director at Nick Scali Furniture Pty Ltd (1999 to 2001) and as the operations & finance director at Cenovis Pty Ltd (1989 to 1996) – both leading Australian brands in their own industry.

Michael owned an event management business between 1996 and 1999 which was sold to a US company prior to the Sydney Olympics. He spent 15 years in New Zealand and was the group accountant of the Fletcher Challenge Group, New Zealand’s largest company and was group financial controller and company secretary of Challenge Meats Pty Ltd – a subsidiary of Fletcher Challenge (1981 to 1988). Michael commenced his career in audit in 1977 and was audit supervisor at KPMG Wellington, New Zealand until he left in 1981.


Secretary/Business & Events’ Manager

Jenny Sayle

Jenny Sayle (1)
Jenny Sayle has been interested in foreign affairs ever since her first visit to France as an exchange student aged 16.  Her first serious job, on the Sunday Times in London, allowed her to combine her work and hobbies (travel and languages) and make long-lasting friends in many countries of the world. Jenny’s passion for languages has always kept her interested in international affairs and since leaving the UK she has lived in Hong Kong for a year and Japan for over 25 years.  This included much travel in Asia as she was deeply involved in international journalism with husband, Murray Sayle. It also meant learning a lot about Japanese culture to cope with everyday family life in a small Japanese village. She worked for the local education board from 1987 – 2004.

Since coming to Australia in 2004 she has kept up these interests and has been delighted to work for the AIIA NSW for the last twelve years. Organising events each Tuesday is a wonderful way to keep in contact with what is happening in the world – and to help bring this knowledge to a wide audience in Sydney.




Jocelyn Chey

Jocelyn Chey is Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and UTS Sydney. She was previously a senior officer in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, her last posting being as Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau (1992-95).  She was one of the earliest students in Australia to take up Chinese language and culture. She combines interests in history and classical studies with contemporary politics, economics and culture and is co-author and co-editor of a groundbreaking multidisciplinary study of Chinese humour.  Jocelyn is patron of the Australian International School of Hong Kong, having chaired the committee that founded the school. She was awarded the Australia-China Council Medal for contributions to the development of relations between Australia and China in 2008. In 2009 she was honoured with being made a Member of the Order of Australia and, in the same year, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.  She has been a councillor of AIIA NSW for more than ten years.


Ralph Housego

Ralph Housego holds a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies in Politics and International Relations from the University of Sydney. He currently works in public policy consulting, working with state and federal government clients on a diverse range of public policy issues. He previously worked in research and analyst positions in government relations, as well as for an international business forum. Ralph is a former intern of the institute and has served on the council since 2023.


Bob Howard
Dr  Bob Howard researches aspects of the history of international relations in the twentieth century, with special reference to developments in international security. He is currently focusing on international security issues in the post-Cold War era and the role, at this time, of the United Nations. Dr Howard is also interested in developments in the international economy since 1945 and the impact of these on domestic economies and polities. Other interests include international relations theory and developments in contemporary Australian politics and society. He is a former editor of the Current Affairs Bulletin. Dr. Howard’s research interests are Australian politics, Contemporary Australian politics and society, Developments in the International Economy and Security, History of IR in the Twentieth Century, International relations, International security, and United Nations.


Alice Nason

Alice Nason is a Research Associate with the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre. Formerly, Alice was an AIIA NSW intern, a Research Fellow at the Washington DC-based Global Business Policy Council and a Business Analyst Intern at the international consulting firm Kearney.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies in Politics, International Relations and American Studies with First Class honours from the University of Sydney. Alice completed an academic exchange at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her research pertains to the US-Australia bilateral relationship and in US foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific.


Glen Robinson

Glen Robinson is a co-founder of Asean Focus Group, which was formed in 1990 to provide advice and assistance to those organisations which wished to take up a commercial presence in Asean.  It has been successful in actually being effective and has worked with a significant range of companies, as well as the Indonesian BKPM, Thai BOI, Malaysian MIDA and Myanmar MIC, and other investment agencies in relation to their inward investment policies and strategies.  Throughout this process, he has developed a deep network of colleagues in the region in both government and the private sectors.

He has been heavily involved in the bilateral business councils of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor Leste and India.  Glen has a high level of interest in Australia’s position in the region, and is keen to see more involvement by Australian corporates at a higher level of commercial activity in the region.


Chris Skinner 

Chris Skinner served thirty years in the Royal Australian Navy in six warships that participated in the South East Asian Treaty Organisation, the Vietnam War and surveillance of the North-West Indian Ocean. Shore service included an extended period in the UK to complete an engineering degree and three periods in the USA, two of them with family including his elder son born in California. Chris has maintained a keen interest in international affairs and geo-strategic developments and has attended many AIIA events since joining three years ago. He is the Editor of the Australian Journal of Multidisciplinary Engineering, and of the Nuclear Propulsion Roadmap for Australia®.


Ian Thomson

Ian Thomson recently renewed his involvement with AIIA NSW having been in Hong Kong, China since 2007.  He previously had a long-term association with the Institute from the late 1980s; he was the NSW Treasurer and later also National Treasurer until 2007.

Ian is a CPA Australia member, qualifying with a BCom (Hon) at UNSW and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.  His extensive management experience includes Westpac Banking Corporation, Leighton Contractors and Sydney Airport Corporation; and the food and beverage industry with operations in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.  Over the last decade he has been a university lecturer in accounting and finance at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau and worked in Hong Kong as a company director and adviser on a range of projects, including through the CFO Centre in Hong Kong.

In 2013 Ian became the Chief Financial Officer for the Crossroads Foundation Limited, a Hong Kong based charity with an international network and operations.


Crispin Conroy

Crispin Conroy is the State Director, NSW State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Prior to taking up the role in 2022, Mr Conroy was the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Representative Director, and the ICC Permanent Observer to the United Nations, in Geneva. Mr Conroy led ICC’s engagement with the United Nations system in Geneva, and with the World Trade Organisation. He also led ICC’s global business and human rights strategy, and was a United Nations Gender Champion, and a Thinking Ahead for Social Change (TASC) Advisory Board member.

Prior to his appointment with ICC, Mr Conroy worked with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and had a number of diplomatic postings, including: Ambassador to Chile, concurrently accredited to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; Deputy High Commissioner, Papua New Guinea; and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal. Mr Conroy has also worked with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (AusTrade) as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner (STIC), Italy, based in Milan, Consul-General and STIC, Colombia, based in Bogota, and STIC for Latin America, based in Chile.


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