Speakers & Panelists

Anthea is the CEO of the Scanlon Foundation and CEO of the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute. The Scanlon Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation dedicated to social cohesion and the transition of migrants into Australian society. She has an extensive background in strategic planning, business development, community service, education, communications and relationship and services marketing through senior leadership experience in private, ASX listed, government, professional services, academia and not for profit organisations here and in the US. She is a Member of the Australian Multicultural Council, an accredited mediator, Chair of the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre Advisory Board, a non-executive Director of YMCA Victoria, Chair of the Ubuntu Project’s Advisory Board and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Anthea Hancocks

Dr Brian J Adams is the Director of the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University. As a former Rotary Peace Fellow, Brian is primarily focused on promoting respect and understanding across cultural, religious and organisational boundaries. Brian's 20-plus years of work in Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia–Pacific bring a compelling international perspective to the Centre. His background in mediation, conflict management and dialogue facilitation strengthens the Centre's ability to address some of the great challenges facing the world today. Brian is a founder of the G20 Interfaith Forum, drawing on interfaith insight and experience in developing recommendations on issues relevant to the G20 Leaders Summit. Brian is also the author of the CURe Program for Productive Diversity. This program helps create the mindset, develop the skills and establish an environment for people to value the traditions and perspectives of others and to contribute their own. In addition to his University work, Brian is a father of 5 children, a husband to Carolyn, and Bishop to a congregation of 110+ young single adults in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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 Dr. Brian Adams 

For the last six years, Ruha Fifita has served as an Auxiliary Board member assisting with the unfoldment of a Baha’i-inspired, grass roots educational process in South east Queensland that seeks to raise capacity in individuals of all backgrounds to take charge of their own spiritual, social and intellectual development. Ruha  engages with the Pacific region as an interdisciplinary artist, and as the Curatorial Assistant for Pacific Art at the Queensland State Gallery of Modern Art. She serves the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity delivering seminars for university students to contribute to prevalent discourses concerned with the betterment of society. Ruha co-founded ON THE SPOT Inc. in Tonga - a community-based arts organisation, engaging youth in creative projects contributing to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Her artistic practice focuses on collaboration, community engagement and connection with indigenous methods and material, and has exhibited throughout the Pacific including the Auckland Art Festival, Pataka Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Victoria, and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Across her work she is dedicated to learning about the role of religion, young people, the arts and artists in contributing to the advancement of civilization.

Ruha Fifita

Klaus Veil FACHI FHL7 has been involved in the leadership of not-for-profits and professional organisations for over 25 years.  Klaus has passionately and significantly contributed to the fields of professionalism, digital health interoperability and biomedical engineering. He is the Founding Vice-President of the Neighbourhood Connect charity and has since 2015 been a leader of the Australian Council of Professions; he now serves as its President.  He is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics as well as HL7 International and a Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. Klaus also has a professorial appointment with Western Sydney University.

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Klaus Veil

Angie Hiscock is a Melbourne-based artist and student in the field of Arts and Cultural Management. Her background in anthropology and sociology reflects her desire to analyse the nuances of our social environment, equally trying to understand the links and causalities behind/between them. Angie's practice is not tied to any particular medium or approach, but rather driven by the ideas and concepts themselves which later determine the vehicle in which they are carried. Her work focuses on models of meaning-making and value-systems within the West that ultimately shape our view of things. 

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Angie Hiscock

Monica Attard

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Law, author and writer, Order of Australia for services to journalism, winner of 5 Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism, including gold.
Monica Attard spent 28 years at the  ABC, working across radio and television. She was the ABC’s Russia correspondent at possibly the best time in modern history to be a Russia correspondent. She reported on the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, the collapse of Soviet communism, the rise of Boris Yeltsin and his peculiar brand of capitalism and democracy, the first Chechen war and she covered civil wars across the old Soviet Union. Four years of covering the revolution left her with just enough energy to pump out a book about the events – Russia, Which Way Paradise?
In 1994, Monica returned to Australia to present ABC Radio’s PM. In 2001, she created Sunday Profile on ABC Radio, which earned her two Walkley Awards for Best Broadcast Interviewing. This brought her Walkley count to five, including Gold for excellence in journalism.
Monica hosted Media Watch on ABC TV for two years and also received an Order of Australia for services to journalism. She has an arts/law degree and was the creator and former Managing Editor of The Global Mail.
Monica is now head of Journalism at UTS, Sydney.

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Dr. Usha Rodrigues

Dr. Rodrigues is an experienced Journalist, Journalism Educator and Researcher in Journalism and Media Studies. She has teaching expertise in curriculum development and multi platform journalism as well as international journalism. Dr Rodrigues has written a variety of books including Indian News Media: From Observor to Participant, Indian Media in a Globalised World and Youth, Media and Culture in the Asia Pacific Region.

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Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist, researcher and bestselling author of 19 books, including The Good Life, The Art of Belonging and Australia Reimagined.
He has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. Among many honorary appointments, he has been
deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School, the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board and an honorary professor at Macquarie, Wollongong and Charles Sturt universities. He is currently a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and of the Royal Society of
NSW. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and
Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in
2015.

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Hugh Mackay

Asmi Wood is the Interim Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) at The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and Professor at the ANU College of Law.   He was made a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2017, was the recipient of the OLT Australian Award for University Teaching: Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education in 2015, and also the ANU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010.

Prof Asmi Wood

Will Wrathall is convinced that creating space for face-to-face is vital for the sustained flourishing of any democracy. Will manages the Community Development team at Northern Beaches Council and established Council’s Big Ideas Forum to engage the local community in the robust exchange of ideas and to broaden people’s understanding of the role local government can play in promoting social cohesion. He previously founded The Woollahra School of Philosophy in partnership with Sydney University and UNSW along similar lines of increasing civic engagement on important issues. Will’s passion for community development commenced on a rubbish tip in the remote islands of north east Indonesia where he witnessed the slow seeping sense of minds itching over the possibilities of education. As a trained teacher and counsellor, Will considers building social and relational capacity as the most effective way to prepare for and address the many challenges of the new millennium.

Will Wrathall

Dr. Naguran’s research and community development expertise lie within the field of Applied Theatre. Her work has focused on using theatre as a tool for social cohesion, community building and as a catalyst for anti-oppression focused action.  Dr. Naguran has facilitated theatre programs and conducted research mainly within the South African prison and residential child and youth care settings. She has also facilitated Applied Theatre programs in the USA aimed at addressing issues of systemic oppression, and in Bangladesh addressing the causes and consequences of child-marriage  DR. Naguran holds a PhD in Applied Theatre from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in her native South Africa. She currently serves in the position of Community Development Evaluation Officer at the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS).

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Dr. Ansuya Naguran

May Saba Sabet is passionate about using the arts to create a collective understanding of what it means to be human. Her expertise lies in co-creating theatre with young people. She has devised a system in which theatre is used to dissolve social barriers and connect hearts. This year she is developing a theatre company that through its method and form of storytelling inspires, recharges and activates both those participating and the audience. Her previous work includes directing Everything In Between, a piece made about high school students and their lives, Kaya, an immersive piece about what home means to those uprooted, and facilitating English learning theatre workshops in high schools in West Melbourne.

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May Sabet

Noel Debien

Noel Debien is a religion specialist with the ABC’s radio religion and ethics unit. Noel came to ABC religion unit in 1996, and has worked producing, reporting or presenting across a range of television programs, including The Drum, ABC Carols for Christmas, Hymns of Glory, Compass, People Dimensions, 2000 today, Race Around the World; and ABC Radio programs, including Life Matters, The Religion Report, The Europeans (all Radio National); as well as Sunday Nights on local radio, For the God Who Sings on Classic FM and God Forbid on RN.

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