The New Colombo Plan Reference Group was established by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP in 2014, to provide high-level strategic advice and guidance to the Australian Government regarding the implementation of the NCP.
In addition, Reference Group members play a role as ambassadors for the NCP, engaging in promotion and advocacy of the program through their networks. Members may also assist in elements of program implementation subject to availability, for example involvement in scholarship selection processes, New Colombo Plan events, and monitoring and evaluation activities.
New Colombo Plan Reference Group members
Mr Kevin McCann AM, Chairman, Citadel Group Limited (Co-Vice Chair)
Mr McCann is Chairman of Citadel Group Ltd, Dixon Hospitality Ltd and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. He is a member of the Male Champions of Change, a Pro Chancellor and Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney. In 2005, he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Law, Business and Community.
Professor Sandra Harding AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, James Cook University (Co-Vice Chair)
Professor Harding took up her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University in January 2007. She has extensive academic leadership experience and is an economic sociologist by training. Professor Harding has a keen interest in education policy and in northern Australia and economic development.
Mr Doug Ferguson, NSW Chairman and Head of Asia and International Markets, KPMG Australia and New Colombo Plan Business Champion
Mr Ferguson is the Chairman for KPMG in NSW, responsible for managing key external relationships and leading 260 Partners and 3,500 employees across five offices in NSW. He is also Partner-in-charge of KPMG's Asia & International Markets Group and responsible for leading KPMG’s China, Japan, India, Korea and South East Asia client business practices in Australia. Mr Ferguson is Chairman of the Asia Society in Australia and an Adjunct Professor at Sydney University Business School.
Mr Trevor Goddard, Board of Directors, International Education Association of Australia
Mr Goddard is Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the International Education Association of Australia and an elected Council member of the Forum on Education Abroad in the United States. He sits on the editorial review committee for a number of academic journals focusing on international education and advises governments, NGOs, industry and educational institutions on cross sector international development and international education initiatives.
The Hon Phil Honeywood, Chief Executive Officer, International Education Association of Australia
The Honourable Phil Honeywood is CEO of the International Education Association of Australia. He was a Member of the Victorian State Parliament for 18 years until 2006, including a period as Minister for Tertiary Education. He is a member of the Higher Education Standards Panel, Education Visa Consultative Committee and the inaugural Council for International Education.
Dr Marlene Kanga AM, President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations
Dr Kanga is President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations, the peak body for professional engineering institutions from more than 90 nations, which is working with UNESCO and other international institutions in science and engineering to develop global approaches to capacity building in engineering, including to increase diversity. She was 2013 National President of Engineers Australia, is director of iOmniscient Pty Ltd and a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her leadership in the engineering profession.
Professor Steve Larkin, Chief Executive Officer, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education
Professor Larkin is a Kungarakany and Yanyula man from Darwin in the Northern Territory. He is Chief Executive Officer of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. Professor Larkin was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Newcastle and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University. He chaired the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council from 2009-2012.
Mr Rob Malicki, Director, Australian Institute for Mobility Overseas
Mr Malicki is co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of the Australian Institute for Mobility Overseas. He is the co-founder and a director of the Global Society Foundation (formerly the Study Overseas Foundation). Mr Malicki is the author of the Outbound Mobility Best Practice Guide for Australian universities and co-author of the VET Outbound Mobility Toolkit.
Ms Sheba Nandkeolyar, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of MultiConnexions Group
Ms Sheba Nandkeolyar is a global marketer and founder of MultiConnexions Group with a career spanning the globe advising government and industry on cross-border business and diaspora. She was elected Australia India Business Council’s (AIBC) first woman National Chair in its 30-year existence (2016-18). Other board positions include Australia India Council and International Advertising Association – Australia Chapter (IAA). She is AIBC Women in Business Chair.
Emeritus Professor Krishna Sen, Senior Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia
Professor Sen is an internationally recognised scholar of contemporary Indonesia and fluent in several languages including Indonesian and Hindi. She is Emeritus Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia. She served as a member of the Council of Learned Academies Expert Working Group on ‘Asia Literacy’, was a founding member of Murdoch University's Asia Research Centre and served on its international advisory board for many years.
Ms Vicki Thomson, Chief Executive, Group of Eight
Ms Thomson has worked in Australia’s university sector for 16 years championing its role as integral to the success of our nation and its people. She is currently the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight Universities and was previously Executive Director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities. Ms Thomson's diverse background covers print and electronic journalism, politics and issues management.
Professor Paul Wellings CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong
Professor Wellings joined the University of Wollongong as Vice-Chancellor in January 2012. He was Deputy Chief Executive of CSIRO in 1999 and Vice-Chancellor, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, from 2002-2011. He has been a Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. In Britain, he was honoured for services to higher education.
Ms Won-Hae Shim 2019 New Colombo Plan Reference Group Alumni Representative
Ms Shim undertook a Bachelor of Construction Project Management at University of Technology Sydney (UTS). As the 2018 NCP Nepal Fellow and Alumni Ambassador at UTS, Ms Shim had a semester studying construction management at the Nepal Engineering College before embarking on internships at the National Society for Earthquake Technology and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
During her time at UNOPS, Ms Shim worked on support and communications for an initiative called ‘Field Sight’, a mobile-based application developed after the Nepal earthquake of 2015 to help engineering teams based in Kathmandu to support reconstruction efforts across the country.