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MEET OUR TEAM

Executive

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Erica Bell

Chief Executive Officer

Erica is a User Experience and Service Designer at Deloitte Digital, with a professional background in digital marketing, content management and web design. She has designed and consulted for a number of Australian youth-run nonprofit organisations and initiatives and is one of the co-founders of APYD.

 

Erica holds a Bachelor of International Studies (Hons) from the University of Wollongong and has completed additional qualifications in Agile Project Management, Human-centred design and Front-end Development. She is passionate about increasing Agile metholodolgy use in smaller organisations and improving digital connectivity in the Pacific Islands.

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Rebecca Tobena

Co-Chief Executive Officer

Rebecca is a Social Media Specialist who has volunteering experience in 3 different countries from 3 different continents. She is a Digital Content Producer & Radio Personality for Kalang Limited and was previously a Television Host of Elite Music Zone, covering everything music for Papua New Guineans. Rebecca was also the Delegate for Papua New Guinea for the Ubuntu Leaders Academy and volunteered as an English teacher in her time abroad in Poland.

She has represented the interests of students from 83 different countries whilst inducing a fun environment for student activities at Vistula University as President of the Mentoring Program and speaks Polish and Turkish. Rebecca is passionate about global governance, the United Nations and increasing representation of PNG in international relations.

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Cameron Smith

Chief Operations Officer

Cameron is a Policy Officer at the Australian Government Department of Social Services and member of the Canberra Youth Advisory Council for the US Embassy in Australia. He is also a Senior Editor for the Young Diplomats Society and was previously the Managing Editor for the Journal on World Affairs at UCLA. He has interned for the Australian Institute of International Affairs and worked as an Electorate Officer at the Parliament of Australia.

 

Cameron is an award-winning writer with articles featured in the Australian Outlook and Insights. He has also been a Delegate for the UWA Defence and Security Institute US-Australia Alliance Next Generation Perspecitves and La Trobe Emerging Leaders in the Indo-Pacific. Cameron is a co-founder of APYD and US-Australia dual citizen, with a strong interest in the Indo-Pacific and international security.

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Jon Doe

I’m a paragraph. Double click me or click Edit Text, it's easy.

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Jon Doe

I’m a paragraph. Double click me or click Edit Text, it's easy.

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Jeremy Tirang

Co-Chief Operations Officer

Jeremy is a Junior Human Rights Assistant at United Nations Human Rights in Papua New Guinea who is skilled in policy analysis, human rights monitoring and conflict resolution, public policy, international relations and research. 

He holds a Bachelor of Bachelor of PNG Studies and International Relations focused in Arts from Divine Word University Madang, with additional qualifications from UNDSS and the Australia Pacific Security College. 

Jeremy has strong interests in Pacific diplomacy, PNG-Australia relations and increasing youth representation in global affairs.

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Tayla Peacock

Chief Financial Officer

Tayla is a Contracting Assistant for the Australian Government Department of Defence, studying a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts at Monash University. 

She has previously interned for the German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG) in Thailand and was an Assistant Tax Accountant for Wingman Business Advisory and Taxation Pty Ltd. 

Tayla was also part of the Young Australians in International Affairs Future Leaders Series concerning ‘The Pacific and Australian Foreign Policy’, where her policy goals addressed gender issues facing women and girls in the Pacific, and recommended changes to AusAID’s ‘Pacific Women and Girls’ program.

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Cara Confessore

Chief Marketing Officer

Cara is an Advisor (Economic Policy & Programs) at the National Indigenous Australians Agency with a Bachelor's degree in Government and International Relations from Griffith University. 

She has also worked as a Research Officer for Joblife Employment and as a Processor for Envirobank Recycling. Cara has also interned at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission in Jongro-gu, Seoul, Korea. 

DIGITAL EVENTS

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Annabel Howard

Digital Events Coordinator

Annabel is studying a Bachelor of Public Policy and International Relations at The Australian National University and is currently interning for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, where she is the Editor of the ‘Australia in the World’ podcast. 

She is also the Marketing Co-Director for the ANU Consulting Society and Diplomatic Liaison Officer for ANU's International Relations Society. 

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Nerither Tausili

Digital Events Officer

Nerither is studying a Bachelor of International Studies at Macquarie University and is the President of the Pasifika Student Association of Macquarie University.

She is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant Recipient and has interned at Roots of Health. Nerither has also attended the National Leadership Forum in Canberra and has been a delegate for numerous Pasifika-led youth initiatives.

PUBLICATIONS

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Taylor Tutawa McLaren

Publications Coordinator

Taylor is currently the Project Administrator and Communications Assistant for The Immunisation Advisory Center. He also currently teaches a Senior Citizens Digital Class, helping senior citizens become familiar with digital media and smart devices.

Since graduating from Auckland University of Technology in 2021 with a Communications degree, he has been actively writing in a freelance capacity for several different publications including NZ Musician and Nxtstep.

Taylor also volunteers as both a Board Member and Māori Outcomes/Equity Outcomes Officer for The Albert-Eden Youth Board.

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Samantha Goerling

Editor

Samantha is currently a Reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with a strong professional background in journalism and written communications.

She holds a Bachelor of Philosophy (Hons) from the University of Western Australia, with additional qualifications from Sciences Po Grenoble and Edith Cowan University in broadcasting and political science.

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Benjamin Cherry-Smith

Editor

Benjamin is an Editor and current PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, researching the US-Australia alliance.

 

He holds a Master of Arts from the University of the Sunshine Coast, a Master of International Relations, and a Bachelor of Government and International Relations from Griffith University. He has previously been an editor for Young Australians in International Affairs and E-International Relations.

 

He is passionate about empowering people who are often left out of conversations and spaces and translating academic insights into tangible policy outcomes.

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McQuina Timiel

Content Writer

McQuina is a graduate from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, where she majored in Technology and Communications for Development. 

She has also been a Facilitator for the Community Transformation Agency and Assistant Teacher for the International Education Agency of PNG Ltd. 

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Mary Terriette Aseari

Content Writer

Mary is an intern for the Business Council of Papua New Guinea and Freelancer at PNG Now. 

She also holds a Bachelor of English Communication and Political Science, where she majored in English Language and Literature.

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Jazmin Wright

Content Writer

Jazmin is a recent Bachelor of Security Studies graduate at Macquarie University, entering the cyber security and digital risk industry. She is a General Officer with Young Diplomats Society and a member of the Youth Steering Group for GenEndIt.

Jazmin has also interned for Think Pacific and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. She is passionate about strengthening the relationship between Australia and the Pacific and engaging young people in Pacific affairs.

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Kollin Killa Taugamu

Content Writer

Kollin is currently a freelance journalist and writer and a Social Media Content Manager in Papua New Guinea for PNG Fashion Week Limited, The Salvation Army PNG and Emstret Space. 

He is also the Managing Editor of Tati's Journal, an online freelance journalism and media platform aimed at capturing and sharing everyday stories and happenings not just within the capital city, Port Moresby but all across Papua New Guinea.

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Julius Jethro

Content Writer

Julius is currently studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at The Papua New Guinea University of Technology.

 

He is also the Chairman of the AOG Unitech Fellowship and was previously the TSCF President for Memyamya Secondary School, where he led the school in all religious activities and facilitated fellowships at the school campus.

ADMINISTRATION

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Yasmeen Wang

Administration Coordinator

Yasmeen is a Climate Change and Sustainability Services Consultant at EY, working in Community Impact. She has also worked a Service Delivery Officer for the Australian Taxation Office and Account Manager for Liucheng International.

Yasmeen is passionate about ocean conservation and sustainable development in the Pacific, which can be seen in her work with the Sustainable Ocean Alliance as the University of Sydney Executive Committee Member.

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Breanna Gabbert

Careers Coordinator

Breanna is currently a Policy Officer at the Australian Government Attorney General's Department. She has worked for numerous think-tanks in Australia, including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Australian Institute of International Affairs and East Asia Forum.

Breanna is also part of the International Humanitarian Law Committee and holds a Bachelor of International Relations and Economics from The Australian National University.

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Elizabeth Tomscoll

Careers Officer

Elizabeth is studying a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Business, majoring in Economics at the Queensland University of Technology. 

She is an Office Support Assistant for Turner Freeman Lawyers and has interned for Kubak & Kubak Solicitors and Barristers.

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Geoffrey Zhen

Administration Officer

Geoffrey is studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. He is also a Student Engagement Officer for Arc - UNSW Student Life and is a tutor for English and Humanities subjects.

Geoffrey has also been a Law Clerk for RN Legal and has completed internships and traineeships in Business Admin and state government offices.

DEVELOPMENT & PARTNERSHIPS

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Yashi Kotnala

Development and Partnerships Coordinator

Yashi is a Policy Officer at the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pacific Islands Division, with a strong background in stakeholder engagement, public policy and international relations.

She studied at The Australian National University where she was also the Chair of of Student Division ACT for the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ).

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Niamh Hanratty

Stakeholder Engagement Officer

Niamh is a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Sydney, working as a Campus Assistant Services Officer at the University of Technology in Sydney.

She has interned for the Policy and Partnerships team of Create NSW, Institute for Economics & Peace and Justice Action. Niamh was also a Digital Dialogues Delegate for the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership, where she was involved in the editing and development of the final Policy Report.

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Maria Dolores Biaun

Stakeholder Enagement Officer

Maria is a PNG Government Maritime Administration official with over 6 years of professional work experience in the Government Sector. She was previously a Foreign Service Officer and liaises with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including regional bodies. Maria was also a Pacific Analyst at the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Papua New Guinea Studies and International Relations and a Graduate Certificate in Foreign Service from The Australian National University.

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Shania Prasad

Stakeholder Enagement Officer

Shania is currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations and International Security Studies. She also volunteers for the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership as a Diplomacy Experience Officer and was a Crisis Writer for the Australian Crisis Simulation Summit.

Shania has also participated in the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia Embassy Program GRTW, where she built a research project that culminated in a presentation to the Ambassador for Women and Girls, Christine Clarke CSC.

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Jessica Walters

Stakeholder Enagement Officer

Jessica is a Social Geoscientist currently working as a Development Officer for UN Youth Australia and as the Victorian Hub Coordinator for the Australian Crisis Simulation Summit. She has extensive experience in national and international discussions on topics of climate science, crisis response, sustainable development and environmental security.

 

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Global Studies, specialising in International Relations and a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Earth Science, minoring in Geographical Sciences, she also has a Graduate Certificate in Business Management. Throughout her work, Jessica has completed projects in Italy, Africa, Asia and Ireland and is currently collaborating with international colleagues to write an academic paper on a Just Transition Model for Sustainable Development.

FINANCE

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Hannah Athalia James

Grants Officer

Hannah is a graduate of a Bachelor of Management from Divine World University. She has worked as an EU Project Finance Officer at YWCA and was recognised as a YWCA Young Leader fo the Young Women Leadership Cohort 2020. She volunteers for the Piku Biodiversity Network on a freelance basis.

Hannah has also worked as a Finance and Administration Officer for The Voice Inc. and as a Matron for Simbu Provincial Debate and Quiz Competition. 

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Kazieh Taganny

Fundraising Officer

Kazieh currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as an engineer at ExxonMobil PNG. She has a strong technical background and experience in business development, and co-founded her own nonprofit organisation The Coffee Club Gang which looks at giving engineers and doctors the opportunity to go into the country and empower local communities through various initiatives.

Kazieh is also a member of Transparency International Papua New Guinea and a Youth Ambassador for NCD for Pacific Community-SPC. She is passionate about education, economic empowerment and addressing challenges of gender equality in Papua New Guinea.

MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS

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Samantha Sipioni

Copywriter

Samantha is currently studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biochemistry, at the Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea.

She has volunteered for MBPHA Public Health (Goilanai Urban Clinic) in Milne Bay, PNG, where she assisted nursing officers to raise awareness and give the Polio vaccine to young infants within various areas within the province.

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Helen Cortezano

Graphic Designer

Helen is currently a Finance Specialist Assistant at Bupa, holding a Masters degree in Accounting from Kaplan Business School and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nueva Cacares. She has also completed additional qualifications in User Experience Design and User Interface Design.

Helen has worked as an Administrative Officer for the Korean Embassy and as a Client Services Representative in the Philippines.

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