Alumni ambassadors

Armed with one of the best educations in the world, Australia’s global alumni are a diverse and talented group. Through the development of the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy, we are reaching out to Australia’s global alumni community, inviting alumni to connect and engage with Australia and each other.

Twelve of Australia’s most inspiring alumni have agreed to help with this task by taking on the role of alumni ambassadors. These twelve individuals represent the depth and breadth of talent of Australia’s Global alumni. They are entrepreneurs, business leaders, technologists, educators and change-makers. They come from eight countries and their education journeys took them to thirteen Australian universities.

The alumni ambassadors will work with Australian embassies in their home countries to grow Australia’s global alumni community, raising the profile of Australia’s world class education system and strengthening ties between Australia and the globe.

Though we cannot claim credit for their remarkable achievements, Australia is proud to have been a part of their professional journeys. As alumni ambassadors, Australia will tell their stories, celebrate their successes and share their experiences and advice with the global alumni community.

A stronger Australian global alumni community will build and maintain friendships and networks and share knowledge and understanding around the world. Working together, we can build and learn from our successes, research, create and innovate, grow our economies and open our minds to potential.

Alumni ambassadors

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – India

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a pioneering biotech entrepreneur, is the Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, Asia’s leading bio-pharmaceuticals enterprise. Under her leadership, Biocon has evolved from an industrial enzymes company to a fully integrated, innovation-led biopharmaceutical enterprise committed to reduce therapy costs of chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Her philanthropic efforts have been featured in Forbes’ list of ‘Heroes in Philanthropy’ and she has featured on Forbes’ list of ‘100 Most Powerful Women’ since 2010. Kiran studied at the Ballarat Institute of Advanced Education, a predecessor to Federation University.

Dr Philips J. Vermonte - Indonesia

Dr Vermonte is a proli¬fic analyst on conflict and other political issues. He is currently Executive Director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Jakarta-based think tank. He joined CSIS as a researcher at the Department of International Relations Jakarta in 2001 and is the youngest Executive Director CSIS has ever appointed. Dr Vermonte is an Australia Awards recipient and obtained his M.A (International Studies) degree from the University of Adelaide in 2001.

Dr Doan Duy Khuong - Vietnam

Dr Doan Duy Khuong is Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a national organization which assembles and represents business community, employers and business associations of all economic sectors in Vietnam. He is also Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (Vietnam Chapter) and editor of the weekly Vietnamese Business Forum Magazine (published in English and Japanese). Dr Khuong completed a Master of Business Administration from University of Wollongong in 1997 on an Australia Awards Scholarship.

Dr Lam Minh Yen - Vietnam

Dr. Lam Minh Yen one of the top tropical disease specialists in the world. She completed a Master of Science (Infectious Diseases) at Flinders University in 2001 on an Australia Awards scholarship. In October 2006, she was promoted to Vice Director at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Ho Chi Minh City), a position she held until February 2016, when she retired. She is currently a full-time doctor at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam.

Dr Debora Martins de Freitas - Brazil

Dr Débora de Freitas is a lecturer at the State University of São Paulo. She previously worked with the Technological Institute of Aeronautics in Brazil, The Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong and the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. Her main research interests lay on spatial modelling and on the linkages between science-policy in the management of coastal and marine resources. Débora completed a PhD in Environmental Studies at James Cook University.

Prom Sirisant - Thailand

Prom Sirisant is the Senior Vice President of Strategy at Asia Plus Group Holdings Public Company Limited, a respected financial services company. Before joining Asia Plus, he spent seven years with Tetra Pak, the world leading packaging company, where he was responsible for the group’s Portfolio Management for South and Southeast Asian markets. Prom completed a Bachelor of Business Administration at Macquarie University and a Master of Business in International Marketing at the University of Technology Sydney.

Panita Vongkusolkit - Thailand

Panita Vongkusolkit is the second generation to work for her family company, Mitr Phol Sugar Group. Mitr Phol’s core businesses are sugar milling and refining, and renewable energy production. Mitr Phol is Asia’s largest sugar producer and is Thailand’s largest supplier of ethanol. Panita is a director of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce and heavily involved in alumni activities in Thailand. Panita completed a combined Bachelor of Arts/ Commerce at the University of Sydney.

Dr Kim Cha-Dong – Republic of Korea

Dr Kim Cha-Dong is President of the Innopolis Foundation. He was a former Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and also served as Deputy Secretary for Science and Technology at the Office of the President. The Innopolis foundation oversees the work of a number of innovation clusters around Korea. Dr Kim Cha-Dong completed a Masters and PhD in Economics at the Australian National University.

Professor Cecilia Nembou – Papua New Guinea

Professor Nembou is the President of Divine Word University. She made history by becoming the first woman to be a president and vice chancellor of a university in Papua New Guinea. Professor Nembou’s impressive career has spanned 40 years and included various academic and senior management positions at the University of PNG, PNG Banking Corporation and the University of Wollongong in Dubai. Under an Australia Awards scholarship, Cecilia completed a PhD in Operations Research at the University of New South Wales.

Dr David Kavanamur – Papua New Guinea

Dr David Kavanamur is the Secretary of the PNG Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology. He is an educationist and an academic and has published extensively in the area of development particularly in public sector reform, capacity building, strategic planning, rural financing, development and politics in PNG. Dr Kavanamur received an Australia Awards scholarship and completed a PhD in Strategic Management at the University of Western Sydney.

Cheng Lei - China

Cheng Lei is an anchor on CCTV’s Global Business. She began her career in finance in Australia, holding accountant and business analyst roles with Cadbury Schweppes and ExxonMobil from. Returning to China, Cheng Lei reported on China's business and economic issues, conducting one-on-one interviews with CEOs and political figures. She hosted the Australia China Business Awards 2013, the APEC Women Leadership Forum 2014 and was a panellist on ABC television’s Q&A program filmed in Shanghai in 2014. Cheng Lei completed a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Queensland.

Dr Peng Tao - China

Dr Peng Tao is the CEO and founder of Breadtrip.com which helps independent Chinese travellers to travel overseas. He graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 with a PhD in Electrical Engineering and won first prize in the 2004 Melbourne University Entrepreneur Challenge. In 2015, Dr Peng Tao’s strong innovation credentials were recognised by CBN Weekly when he was named as one of the Top 50 Business Innovators.



Last Updated: 26 April 2016
Meet Panita Vongkusolkit and Prom Sirisant, two of Australia’s alumni ambassadors.