New South Wales

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NSW Executive & Council 2018- 2019

(from 9  October 2018 – October 2019)


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 is a member of the AIIA national conference organising committee and has previously also been on the Outlook commissioning editors group and the 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 Victorian regional office 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 has been active in voluntary organisations in Sydney.  He graduated with first-class honours in history from the University of Queensland and later obtained an M.Phil. in international relations at the London School of Economics.


Vice President

Thom Dixon

Thom Dixon works on emerging technology, innovation and international affairs with a focus on security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. Thom is a Commissioning Editor for the Australian Outlook publication and a Research Fellow for Remi AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Australia and the US. He recently completed a Non-resident WSD-Handa Fellowship with the Pacific Forum, focusing on synthetic biology and Australia’s foreign policy. Thom is an Emerging Leader alumni of the 2017 EU-Australia Leadership Forum and is the National Research Assessments Leader at Macquarie University. He completed his degrees through Macquarie University, Sydney.




Michael Lee
Michael Lee
Michael is the CEO of Global Management Strategic Focus Pty Ltd.  The company specialises in business advice, acquisitions, divestments and business turnaround. He is an advisory councillor of the Australia Industry Group (AIG) and is also a mentor to many young professionals.  In 2018, he invested in a start up company  OpenLearning Pte Ltd, which offers an online learning platform for education institutions in Australia and Southeast Asia.

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 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 eight 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 is director of the Australia China Institute for Arts and Culture at Western Sydney University, and visiting professor at the University of Sydney. She was previously a senior officer in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Since retirement she been a consultant on cross-cultural issues and aid projects, has taught courses on contemporary China and led history study tours to China. Jocelyn 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. She is the co-author and co-editor of a groundbreaking multi-disciplinary study of Chinese humour, and has also recently published articles on soft power in China and Taiwan.  Jocelyn is a Life Member of the Oriental Society of Australia. She is patron of the Australian International School of Hong Kong, having chaired the committee that founded the school during her term as Australian consul-general. 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.

Bob Howard
Dr 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.

Chris Khatouki

Chris Khatouki has recently completed his honours degree in International Relations at the University of Wollongong. His research focuses on political development and its relationship to violence, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region. In 2016 Chris founded The Language Exchange, a university funded program aimed at increasing the bilingual capacity of students and young people. The program has developed to become the largest program of its kind in the Illawarra region and engages hundreds of volunteers and participants every year. In 2017 Chris founded the Illawarra Youth Forum, an annual event which gathers bright minds from eight different high schools to discuss global issues. Chris was an AIIA NSW intern in 2018 and is currently seeking to expand the institute’s community impact and youth engagement.

Nicole King

Nicole King has recently graduated from a double degree in Arts (Government and International Relations, Spanish and Latin America Studies) and Economics (Environmental and Resource Economics) at the University of Sydney. Nicole’s main interests are in environmental politics and international security, and in particular how those two areas intersect and relate to one another. Having previously interned with the Diplomacy Training Program she is also concerned about human rights issues. Nicole hopes to undertake a Masters in Policy Analysis with a focus on environmental security.


Ciara Morris

Ciara Morris is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours I) at the University of Sydney. Ciara majored in Government & International Relations and Chinese Studies, and wrote a research thesis on Australia’s diplomatic approach to China, which won the Henry Albinski Prize for the best undergraduate thesis on Australian foreign policy. Having spent her high school years volunteering with UN Youth Australia, Ciara has always been passionate about foreign cultures and international affairs. Ciara is currently a National Executive Director of the Australia-China Youth Association, and has been on exchange to Peking University, Beijing and Fudan University, Shanghai. Ciara is interested in Australia’s place in the world and our relationship with neighbouring countries in the Asia-Pacific, including China, as a re-emerging global power. Ciara hopes to begin post-graduate study in Asia in 2019 focusing on public policy and inter-cultural relations.


Ryan Neelam

Ryan Neelam commenced as the deputy director of the NSW State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in December 2016. Previously, he acted as director of DFAT’s United Nations Political and Commonwealth Section. From 2012 to 2015, Ryan served as a diplomat in the Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he represented Australia in negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change in the UN General Assembly and on the UN Security Council. Prior to joining DFAT in 2009, he was employed by the University of Sydney’s then Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific. He has a Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences (Honours) from the University of Sydney.




Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen is a final year student of Arts (Politics) and Law at the University of New South Wales. He currently is an intern at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in the Pacific Island research team, a research assistant for the Head of Social Science at UNSW, an editor at the UNSW undergraduate International Affairs Review and an army reservist. Michael is a former intern with AIIA NSW and has since become an assistant intern co-ordinator before being elected as a council member. Furthermore, he has contributed professional work for the Red Cross, LEAN Enterprise Australia and the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

Michael’s interests broadly focus on the politics of internet/cyber politics and on the Asia-Pacific region. Recently he was part of the team that launched the Pacific Aid Map, the largest database of aid projects within the Pacific region and has been published on the Interpreter in regards to this. Moreover, Michael has written extensively on the issues of cyberpolitics and the effect of internet oligopolies on the state both for AIIA, Dalhousie University Political Science Review, Politik and Insights.


Andrew Ritchie

Andrew Ritchie has been a member of  AIIA NSW in April 2016. Andrew joined the AIIA as a result of his long standing interest in international affairs and Australia’s place in the world, an interest that was stimulated at a young age by tales of his grandmother’s travels to such exotic and far off places (as they were in the late 1950’s) as Morocco, Japan, Norway and the far north of Alaska.

Andrew worked for about 25 years in project management and was particularly involved in the management of the development of new facilities for the mining industry.  He worked mainly in Australia, but also spent some time in New Zealand and Malaysia. During that time, Andrew had close contact with representatives of international companies, including from Japan, China, USA and Europe. Andrew is now retired.  Since retirement Andrew has travelled extensively in North and South America, and Europe, as well as some travel in the Middle East and Asia. Andrew visited Jordan and Syria in 2008 and travelled to Iran in 2017 as part of a study tour organised by AIIA Victoria.


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.


Vicki Sideris

Vicki Sideris is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Commerce (International Studies), majoring in International Relations and International Business at the University of New South Wales. She spent a year on exchange at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she also volunteered as a literacy tutor for the local DC Reads program. She has previously worked as a risk management intern at Macquarie Group and as a project consultant at the Social Impact Hub. Her main areas of interest include American and Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics, as well asbroader Indo-Pacific trade and security issues. Vicki was an AIIA NSW intern in 2018 before being elected to the council as an intern coordinator.



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