Georgia Sands – President
Georgia Sands (宋轶菡) is currently a Law Graduate at Allens in Sydney. Having graduated in 2016 from Law, French and Mandarin studies at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, Georgia is passionate about the ability of languages to enrich cultural understanding in the Australia-China relationship. Most recently, Georgia continued her language studies at the Chinese Language Institute in Guilin, Guangxi, where she discovered the diversity of China’s ethnic minority cultures and continued to develop her language skills through an immersion program. As part of the Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Award which she received in 2014, Georgia undertook an exchange program at the University of Hong Kong and internships with major law firms and a charity in China.
Georgia’s involvement with ACYA began during her exchange in Hong Kong, when she became President of the ACYA Hong Kong Chapter. Upon returning to Australia, Georgia launched the ACYA Chapter at Griffith University and joined the National Executive Committee as Portfolio Manager. Georgia is a strong believer in the power of the ACYA community and network to provide opportunities for the youth who will play a key role in building the bilateral relationship and looks forward to fostering the direction of this community in the year ahead.
Josephine Macmillan – Managing Director
Josephine Macmillan (麦佳慧) is in her final year of a dual Laws and Arts degree from the University of Queensland. Majoring in Art History with electives in French and Chinese, she is currently studying at Peking University in Beijing. In 2015, Josephine interned at the Queensland Art Gallery where she helped to launch a corporate sponsorship network for the Asia Pacific Triennial exhibition. Since then, she has become increasingly passionate about cultural relations in the Asia Pacific and the crucial role that China will play in Australia’s future prosperity. Last year, Josephine was awarded the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation scholarship for Asian Exchange. During her exchange, she volunteered in areas of rural China, teaching English in Gansu and Guizhou before spending a semester studying in Hong Kong.
As ACYA’s National People-to-People Director in 2016, Josephine managed the Golden Koala China Film Festival across Australia and secured ACYA’s partnership with the Port Adelaide Football Club (just in time for them to bring AFL to China this year!). As Managing Director, she is eager to work together with the National Executive and the local chapters to harness the commitment, curiosity and drive of the exceptional young people that ACYA attracts.
Roger Lee – Australia Manager
Roger Lee (李学滔) is in his final year of a Bachelors of International Studies & Laws at Macquarie University. Roger first became with involved with ACYA in 2013 after stumbling upon a “Chinglish Corner” language exchange outside the university library. Since then, he has served as Macquarie Chapter President (2014), ACELS Logistics Manager (2014), and Business Development Officer (2015–16).
Through his involvement with ACYA, Roger has gained a deeper understanding of the Australia-China relationship and its many facets. Further, through meeting with and working alongside ACYA’s ambitious members, he has experienced the power of youth engagement and cross-cultural collaboration firsthand. Roger is thus excited to further apply such learnings on the National Executive in which he hopes to foster new and existing partnerships within ACYA’s vibrant community.
Chloe Dempsey – China Manager
Chloe Dempsey (欧阳菲菲) currently studies Law at Renmin University in Beijing under the New Colombo Plan and works for Professor Greg McCarthy at the Peking University Australian Studies Centre. In her hometown of Perth, Chloe studies a double degree in Law and Arts at the University of Western Australia. In 2014, Chloe completed a Diploma in Modern Languages in Mandarin. Based out of Beijing, Chloe has spent the last year working with a number of local NGO’s on issues such as water scarcity and gender equality, alternating with time spent in her hometown undertaking commercial work experience.
Upon returning from a summer school at Zhejiang University in early 2014, Chloe became involved in her local ACYA chapter before moving to Beijing and undertaking the role of National Education Director. Since falling in love with China through the unfortunate film ‘the Karate Kid’ in 2011, and subsequently spending five months in Sichuan, Chloe has continued to spend time in the broader China region, including Taipei, Hong Kong and Hangzhou. Chloe is a strong believer in the importance of youth inclusion in the Australia-China relationship, and is also a Partnerships Associate for the Australia China Youth Dialogue. Chloe believes ACYA’s strengths are in the diversity, connectedness and mobility of its members.
Sean Teh – Treasurer
Having recently graduated, Sean Teh (郑裕胜) is currently working in the Perth office of EY within the Transfer Pricing division of International Tax. Prior to commencing work, Sean completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance from the University of Western Australia. During his studies, he had the opportunity to complete a summer course in Zhejiang University, and an exchange program in Hong Kong as a Westpac Asian Exchange Scholar.
Migrating from Malaysia, Sean felt the need to focus on assimilating in Australia during his early years. After getting more involved with the Asian community from high school and university, Sean began to, once again, appreciate and reconnect with his roots. It was through this, that Sean felt his interest in the Australia-China bilateral relationship begin to ignite. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Sean was able to be connected with a few ACYA members, which he then began his ACYA journey. This was the initial spark to Sean wanting to be more engaged with ACYA, its activities, and its members.
Only having a short period of involvement with ACYA, Sean aims to be actively connected with ACYA’s activities in 2017. In his spare time, Sean enjoys watching movies, spending time with friends, and volunteering in the community.
Ryan Cunningham – Secretary
Ryan Cunningham (康来恩) is a new graduate with the International Business and Government Relations Team in the South Australian Government. He recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce (International Business) and a Bachelor of Languages (Mandarin and pish) at the University of Adelaide and spent 2016 at the University of Hong Kong as a New Colombo Plan Scholar.
Ryan first got involved with ACYA whilst on exchange at Tsinghua University where he studied for one year on a Confucius Institute Scholarship in 2014. Since then, he has been involved in the Adelaide Chapter and was the President of the Hong Kong Chapter. Ryan’s business interests include cross-cultural mergers, the creation of shared-value in Asia and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting. With a passion for culture and the arts as well as youth development, he hopes to support the National Executive and increase ACYA’s international presence. A proud South Australian, Ryan loves spending time with his family wine touring and relaxing on the Murray River.
Sali Miftari – Business Development Director
Sali Miftari is a Melbourne based Economics, Public Policy and Human Geography student at Monash University. A committed networker, Sali has placed significant emphasis on cultivating developing a network of students, businesses, governments and other stakeholders to deepen the crucial Australia-China bilateral relationship. Sali works at Swisse in the Government and Public Policy team, gaining crucial experience in a business that has reaped the success of engaging in the Chinese market. In his role, his has developed a strong understanding of the economic, social and cultural challenges that are faced when exporting to China.
Whilst Sali is only a recent addition to the multi-national ACYA team, he is excited about developing connections with business and government to promote opportunities to our members across Australia and China. Throughout 2017, Sali is keen to engage directly with our members to get a sense of what they want to see from our external engagement program with business and government. By leveraging the talent within our membership, Sali will work to enshrine ACYA as the preeminent stakeholder for youth in the Australia-China bilateral relationship, ensuring that those that will benefit from closer relations in the future have a stake the development of the bilateral relationship.
In his free time, Sali loves nothing better than Friday night at the MCG watching his beloved Bombers, writing about current affairs or being out at one of Melbourne’s many great bars with his friends.
Hayden Wilkinson – Alumni Director
Hayden Wilkinson (魏恒友) is a PhD Candidate at the Australian National University, where he does research in ethics and decision theory. Hayden first became involved in ACYA in 2012 while learning Mandarin. In 2013 he studied at Peking University on an academic scholarship and, later, served as Secretary of the University of Queensland chapter of ACYA. He is particularly interested in the Australia-China relationship on a very human level, having formed many a friendship across that cultural divide. He hopes to assist ACYA alumni in continuing to bridge that divide, to develop new friendships, and to enjoy the support of the vibrant ACYA community.
Outside of ACYA, Hayden has spent time working as a bush firefighter in rural NSW, researching humanitarian interventions in the UK, helping to run a refugee camp in Greece, teaching English in the Polish countryside, establishing a new research institute at the University of Oxford, and advising prominent philanthropists and public figures such as former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
James Tang – Careers Director
James is an engineering professional currently undertaking an MBA (Finance) at the University of Western Australia, where he also completed his undergraduate studies in Engineering (Mechanical) and Arts (Chinese). Though he grew up speaking Mandarin at home in Australia, his interests in Chinese culture only began during undergraduate years when he went on a 1 year student exchange program in Hangzhou and Taipei.
Those experiences prepared him well to tackle cultural and language barriers for his professional working life in China. His first role as a graduate was as a site based mechanical engineer for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in the Pilbara, working on improving the reliability of Chinese procured heavy haul trains and liaising with Chinese suppliers. After this, he moved to work in Beijing as an engineering consultant for Australian mining advisory firm RungePincockMinarco. In this role, he delivered independent technical and due diligence studies for clients seeking to raise capital or invest in large mining projects around Asia and Australia.
Having previously studied and worked in China, James is looking to mentor and share his experiences to the upcoming generation who will be the leaders that shape the future Australia-China relationship. He strongly supports study and work experiences abroad and believes that there are significant opportunities and potential for young Australian and Chinese who are interested in the Australia-China space.
Cormac Power – People-to-People (P2P) Director
Cormac is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Australia, majoring in Political Science & International Relations and Economics, with electives in Chinese. He is spending the first half of 2017 studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing on the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Asian Exchange Scholarship before returning to Perth to complete his undergraduate degree.
Having moved from Ireland to Australia in 2012, China very suddenly became an important consideration for the future. He joined the ACYA UWA team in 2016 and decided to make the previously unthinkable decision of learning Chinese and hasn’t looked back. Cormac has previously interned with the U.S State Department at the US Consulate General in Perth, where he produced a diplomatic cable on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the growing investment relationship between Australia and China under One Belt, One Road. From this experience, he gained an appreciation for the importance of cultural diplomacy and is excited to see how the Australia-China relationship can be further developed during his time as P2P Director.
An avowed international relations and history nerd, Cormac can usually be found reading alongside a good cup of tea or spouting fun facts that no one really ever needs to hear.
April Liu – Education Director
April Liu (刘晓纯) is a recent graduate of a Bachelor degree of Education (Secondary) and Arts (French and Sociology) at the University of Queensland. After having experienced a fierce Gao Kao (National College Entrance Examination) and passed Yi Ben Xian (the benchmark for entering a well-ranking university in China), April came to Australia on a study tour and decided to pursue a dual degree in Brisbane, where Australia shines. As a Chinese born Chinese who has completed Prep to Year12 in China and as a new teacher in Australian schools, April endeavours to develop her own pedagogy based on her diverse educational experience, which has developed from both the perspectives of a learner and a professional educational practitioner.
April believes ACYA has witnessed her growth during her four-year stay in Australia. While getting involved firstly as an active member in her second and third year at university, she took the role as the Education President at UQ chapter and made her contribution to establishing a vibrant Australian-Chinese youth community on campus through running weekly language and cultural exchange spaces. She has not only deepened her intercultural understanding and Queenslander’s accent, but also made life-long friends who have a great influence on her personal and professional life. April hopes to infuse more authentic Chinese flavour into ACYA’s team this year. She thinks Australian coffee makes her a coffee snob and Australian Avo on Toast makes her unable to buy a castle. In her spare time, she likes to blog through her WeChat subscription 刘墨汁 through which she shows Australian and Chinese culture through a different angle.
Charlie Lyons Jones – Publications Director
Charlie is in his final semester of a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese at the University of Melbourne. During his degree, Charlie has had the opportunity to study abroad at Fudan University and Peking University. In 2016, Charlie lived in Beijing where he studied Chinese and completed an internship at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s office at the Commercial Section of the Australian Embassy in Beijing.
Aptly described as a ‘foreign policy wonk’, Charlie has written numerous articles for publications like The Strategist at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and EQ at the Economics Student Society of Australia. Charlie’s recent submission to the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper was also slated for discussion at the Australia-China Emerging Leaders Summit in Beijing. ACYA has provided great opportunities for Charlie to develop his career and present his ideas on Australian foreign policy. For that reason, Charlie looks forward to contributing to ACYA by ensuring that insightful articles are being published regularly for its diverse membership.
Joanne Tse – Translations Director
Born in Sydney and raised in Hong Kong, Joanne Tse (謝宜) is currently studying Masters of Translation and Interpreting at the University of New South Wales. Venturing into various industries and sectors, Joanne has earned the position of accounts manager at one of Sydney’s leading construction companies. Joanne first joined the ACYA Translations team in 2015. With her strong interests in languages and cultures, Joanne has found her passion in working towards the Australia-China space.
Joanne is a big believer in work-life balance and regularly takes to the skies to skydive with her skydiving team to tone down stress levels and recalibrate for new challenges ahead.
Samantha Jonscher – Media Director
Samantha Jonscher is currently studying for her Masters of Advanced Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney. Having graduated from a BA in English and Chinese studies with a first class honors in English from the University of Sydney, Samantha has always been passionate not only about current affairs but about how these issues interact with public discourse.
Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, The Music, Broadsheet, the Inner West Independent, Ciao Magazine and The University of Sydney Anthology. She is also a former editor of Honi Soit.
Samantha’s relationship with the sino-sphere started with an academic exchange to the University of Nottingham Ningbo in 2013. She joined ACYA in 2016 as the Vice-Director Design for ACYA National and has been helping ACYA communicate with the public and its members ever since.
Ryan White – IT Director
Ryan White (白明) is a current student of Biomedical Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Western Australia. He first got involved with ACYA in late 2016 after becoming Secretary for the UWA Chapter. Ryan loves spending time with his cat.