Welcome Remarks


H.E. Steven J. Robinson AO

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines

Mr Robinson is a Deputy Secretary-level officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who presented his credentials to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 15 January 2019.

Over his extensive career, Mr Robinson has developed and expanded Australia’s relationships with a broad range of countries, with a particular focus on the South East Asian region. He has served in Australia’s embassies in Jakarta, Yangon and Bangkok and has held a range of senior positions in Canberra across operational and corporate areas.

In 2009, Mr Robinson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “for service to Australia’s international interests through a significant and sustained contribution”.

Mr Robinson is married with two children.

Keynote Speech


Julie-Ann Guivarra

Australian Ambassador for Gender Equality

Ms Guivarra is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where she served most recently as Australia’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, Andorra and Equatorial Guinea. In this role Ms Guivarra became Australia’s first female indigenous Ambassador.

Prior to that appointment she served as Australia’s lead services negotiator for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while she was Assistant Secretary of the South East Asia Investment & Services Branch. She has multilateral experience, serving as the Counsellor (Agriculture) in the World Trade Organisation.

She has published on trade issues: “WTO accession negotiations: trends and results in agriculture plurilaterals”, WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism: Case Studies and Lessons from the WTO at Twenty (2015). Her overseas postings include New Delhi, Geneva and Madrid and in Canberra she has also served as the Assistant Secretary of the South East Asia Analytical and Effectiveness Branch.

Ms Guivarra holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from James Cook University and Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from Monash University.


Closing Remarks


H.E. Penny Williams

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia

Ms Williams is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was recently Deputy Secretary in the Department. She has previously served overseas as High Commissioner to Malaysia and was Australia’s first Ambassador for Women and Girls. Ms Williams is Australia’s first female Ambassador to Indonesia.

Ms Williams is fluent in Indonesian and holds a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Honours) focused on Indonesia; and a Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development.

Concurrent Session


Atty. Archill Nina Capistrano (Philippines, Alumni)

Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Children’s Legal Bureau Coordinator, Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment, University of the Philippines - Cebu

Atty Archill Capistrano is part of the core group and the Board of Trustees of the Philippine International Studies Organization (PHISO), the pioneering Filipino scholarly organization dedicated to the study of international relations. Currently, she is the Workshop Manager and Lead Organizer of the 3rd PHISO International Conference and Exploratory Workshop in November 2019.

She also serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Legal Bureau Inc., a longstanding pro-women and pro-children non-governmental organization in Cebu. She earned her Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science degree (magna cum laude) at the University of San Carlos (USC) in 1996 and proceeded to complete her Bachelor of Laws degree in the same university in 2000. In 2010, she was granted the Australian Leadership Awards scholarship to pursue her Master of International Relations degree at Monash University in Victoria, Australia. Her research interests include liquid modernity and human trafficking in international relations. She designed the first A.B. Political Science International Relations and Foreign Service specialization course offered by the Department of Political Science, School of Law and Governance of USC where she previously worked as faculty member. Archill is also a member of the Philippine Bar and a lifetime member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Cebu City Chapter.


Dr. Dennis Alonzo (Philippines, Alumni)

Lecturer/Bachelor of Education Program Director University of New South Wales SYDNEY

Dennis is a test and scale developer, program evaluator, curriculum designer, and applied statistician.

His area of interest revolves around Assessment for Learning (AfL) particularly in supporting teachers to make highly contextualised, consistent, fair and trustworthy assessment decisions to effectively support student learning. He has been involved in a number of international and national research projects. He also researches on a broad range of topics including student IT experiences, blended and online learning, standards-based assessment, and learning analytics to help inform curriculum design, professional development and policy. He has received various scholarships from the Philippines and Australian governments and a public diplomacy scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea. He was a former Dean of Education of the University of Southeastern Philippines before joining UNSW.


Mercy Masta (PNG, Alumni)

Co-founder of the PNG Youth Alliance on HIV and AIDS (YAHA); Board Director, Equal Playing Field

Mercy Masta currently undertaking doctoral research on contemporary masculinities that are negotiated, constructed or contested among men in the Pacific region. I have 10 years of experience as a development practitioner and have worked and volunteered in various areas including Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexual Reproductive and Maternal Health, Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment & Rights, and Youth and Adolescent participation and development.

A co-founder of the PNG Youth Alliance on HIV and AIDS (YAHA), I am very keen in the development of youth and young adolescents. I am currently a Board Director with Equal Playing Field (EPF) in Papua New Guinea.

Specialities: project development and management, stakeholder engagement and partnerships, community participatory development, grant management, monitoring and evaluation, and research. Awarded PNG-Australia Alumni Young Leaders Award 2017.


Samar Hasan (Pakistan, Alumni)

Co-Founder, Epiphany

Driven to create positive impact, Samar has been working in the fields of entrepreneurship, higher education, financial inclusion, democracy, governance & international relations since 2003. She co-founded Epiphany as a catalyst for promoting impact/social/women entrepreneurship in Pakistan. in 2016. The firm is focused on enterprise & human development; diversity, inclusion & sustainability, impact consulting in the areas of strategic communications, strategy, research, M&E. She is also Team Lead of Sohni Dharti, a digital awareness and community engagement initiative to counter climate change. Previously she co-founded two fintechs, MeraPaisa and JaldPay.

Samar has an entrepreneurial mind-set & has expertise in setting up nascent organizations. She thrives in complex situations & loves connecting the dots. She worked for more than 6 years as a core team member to establish a revolutionary liberal arts & sciences university, called Habib University; was involved in setting up a vocational & technical education center, Institute for Advancing Careers and Talents; & served as a critical member of the team that conceptualized Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship. At Karandaaz Pakistan, Samar spearheaded the communications portfolio, heavily geared towards web & social media, workshops & events, and led the capacity building program for digital financial services, successfully positioning Karandaaz as a thought leader in financial inclusion. Samar also headed the communications, external relations & advocacy portfolio at a USAID project on voice & accountability.

Samar has a graduate degree in International Relations, specialization in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, & a BA in IR from Webster University, Geneva. She was also awarded the prestigious Young Alumni Award 2017 by the Graduate Institute.


Sri Safitri (Indonesia, Alumni)

DEVP Customer Experience & Digitalisation - Chief Digital Business Office of Telkom Indonesia

Sri Safitri has 20+ years of experience in Telecommunication, Media & Technology with broad local & global experience in Managed Services, Cloud, IP Planning, Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning & Execution, Project Management of Partnership & Alliance. Significant experience at corporate and marketing strategy, launching new businesses in Information, Media & Edutainment as well as setting up and managing a strategic partnership. Having an extensive skills in Negotiating, Solution Selling, Targeted Account Selling and Application Defined Networking as part of ICT Managed Solutions.

With broad experience in ICT, current focus now is to empower business in Indonesia through ICT solutions to increase their competitive advantage and to enable enterprises becoming a leading companies in their industry.

Previous Focus on mobile & fixed broadband, enriching contents, online marketing, social media, and building marketing communities. Interested in educating teachers and women on ICT as well writing onDigital Music a nd ICT solution for retail and enterprises.


Jose Decolongon (Philippines, Alumni)

COO and Managing Director for Corporate Foresight, Embiggen Consulting; Adjunct Professor, Asian Institute of Management

Jose is a professor of Futures Thinking and a consultant of Corporate Foresight.

His expertise is grounded on more than two decades of diverse international experience. He worked in Switzerland, Australia, China, and the Philippines where he led and participated in global and regional business improvement initiatives across Europe and the Asia Pacific.

He has degrees in supply chain innovation, business administration and organizational communication. He is Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt, trained by PWC Europe and GE Europe.


Nathaniel von Einsiedel (Philippines)

Principal Urban Planner, CONCEP Inc

Dr. von Einsiedel is currently Chairman and Principal Urban Planner of CONCEP Inc, a private consulting firm specializing in urban redevelopment planning and design, eco-system based area planning, and heritage conservation. He has been involved in several projects of local governments, national agencies, private sector, and international assistance organizations. The focus of his recent and current projects include the revitalization of inner city areas, eco-system based integrated are development (IAD), and the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and mitigation in local development plans.

He has worked in government, with international assistance organizations, the academe, and the private sector. He served as Regional Director for Asia-Pacific of the United Nations Urban Management Program from 1990 to 2004 where he directed technical assistance projects in 22 cities across 11 Asian developing countries. He was the founding Commissioner for Planning of the former Metro Manila Commission, and also served as Deputy General Manager/Chief Urban Planner of the Human Settlements Development Corporation. Dr. von Einsiedel has contributed to a number of government policies and programs in his areas of expertise. He has also written a number of books, articles, and conference papers on various topics relating to sustainable urban development and management.


Radha Wagle, PhD (Nepal, Alumni)

Joint Secretary/Chief, Climate Change Management Division, Ministry of Forests and Environment

Dr. Radha Wagle is working as a Joint Secretary and Chief of Climate Change Management Division in the Ministry of Forests and Environment. She served as a Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forests and Environment Lumbini Province, Chief of Central Forestry Training Center and REDD Implementation Center, Nepal.

Along with her regular responsibilities of the Ministry, she is also serving as a National Gender and Climate Change Focal Person and National Focal Person to UNFCCC and IPCC.

Dr. Wagle has more than 20 years of experiences in the field of forestry, biodiversity and climate change, more specifically in community forestry, REDD+, sustainable forest management, protected area management and gender equality and social inclusion in forestry and climate change sector. She is the first female Joint Secretary in Nepal’s forest bureaucracy.

Dr. Wagle carried out her Doctoral thesis in Women Inclusion in Forest Bureaucracy from Monash University, Australia. She undertook her Master’s Degree from Swedish Agricultural University (SLU), Sweden with a major in Environmental Science.

Some achievement and Contribution
• Dr. Wagle is talking several initiatives for women empowerment in forestry sector. She has been taking leadership for inclusive and gender responsive forest policy formation.
• An informal network ‘Female Foresters Network” has been formed under her leadership and this Network is working to create safe working environment for women in Forestry Sector. This network in collaboration with other forestry organizations, more than 1500 forestry officials were trained to eliminate Sexual Harassment at work place and creating safe working space. Series (XIII) of online webinar has been conducting in different themes for women empowerment. FFN would like to collaborate with other organization specially for creating safe working environment for women and gender responsive development. Some policy outcomes under her leadership
• Forest Policy- 50% women in any portfolio, appointment in forestry organization ( except Civil Service)
• Gender and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 202
• Gender and Social Inclusion strategy and Action Plan for forestry sector 2021 in under process of approval


Faiza Rehman Syed (Pakistan, Alumni)

Program Coordinator, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

Faiza's work focuses on addressing the needs and concerns of vulnerable population in any humanitarian and development initiative. The Gender and Child Cell has been developing guidelines and standard operating procedures for mainstreaming gender-sensitive adaptation of the COVID-19 response for the local population and healthcare workers, with a special focus on challenges such as mental health awareness, need for psychosocial support and the potential for increased gender-based violence.


Limia Dewan (Bangladesh, Alumni)

Senior Program Manager, Inclusiveness and Capacity Development, BRAC

Limia Dewan is Program Manager in the Children with Special Needs (CSN) and Education for Ethnic Children (EEC) units of BRAC’s Education programme. She joined the BRAC Education Program in 1995 as Material Developer and has extensive experience in designing, planning, and implementing different programmes to address the issues faced by persons with disabilities and children of ethnicity in inclusive education.

Limia has dedicated herself to working in this area to help improve access, equality and children’s rights. Her major responsibilities include program development and management, public relations and national and international networking and advocacy of disability and ethnic minority inclusive development. Her skills include project design, management, assessment and evaluation, conducting and designing training and facilitating workshops on disability and development issues. She has also conducted participatory projects, evaluations in different countries in Asia and presented papers at international courses and workshops. For being excellently consultative and consistently promoting new and promising practices to improve strategies, approaches and interventions, she was offered to head the disability sector of BRAC Education Program.

She has a Master’s degree in Home Economics from the University of Dhaka and a Master’s in Management Learning & Teaching from the University of London, UK.


Brenda Andrias (PNG, Alumni)

Programme Manager of the Safe and Prosperous Districts Programme with UN Women in Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Brenda Andrias is the Programme Manager of the Safe and Prosperous Districts Programme with UN Women in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Prior to joining the UN Women in PNG, Brenda worked with Pacific Women as the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer. Pacific Women is an Australian Government-funded program that works across 14 Pacific Island countries to advance gender equality in the region.

Brenda obtained her Master of Public Policy, from the RMIT University in Melbourne (2014-2015), where she received training in project planning and M&E as part of her coursework. Her final research project involved action research on the impact of investing in women-owned small and medium enterprises in South-East Asia.

Brenda’s work with UN Women involves social protection and women’s economic empowerment in the COVID-19 context. Her work revolves around protection and promotion of women’s livelihoods through targeted skills building, access to finance and leadership for women in the informal economy. It also involves policy level support to relevant PNG Government agencies, looking at developing local economies and investing in promoting the growth and transition of those in the informal to the formal economy.

Brenda hopes to highlight the work she is doing around Social Protection and Women’s Economic Empowerment during this Regional GEDSI Leadership Summit in June 2021.


Cherrie Atilano (Philippines, Alumni)

Founding Farmer / President & CEO, AGREA Agricultural System International Inc

CHERRIE ATILANO is the Founding Farmer, CEO and President of AGREA Agricultural System International, Inc., a for-purpose and inclusive business, that is creating the first replicable one-island economy that is zero hunger, zero waste, and zero insufficiency, - through the ‘Ecology of Dignity’ approach. AGREA aims to help eradicate poverty for farming and fishing families in order to alleviate the effects of climate change, and establish food security in the Philippines.

Cherrie started teaching farmers at the age of 12, has 22 years of vast experience in Sustainable Food Systems. She graduated top of her class - Magna Cum Laude at the Visayas State University, with a BS in Agriculture, Major in Horticulture specializing on tissue culture.

Cherrie is a recipient of national and global awards. Seasoned agribusiness entrepreneur, agricultural scientist, philanthropist, youth and women advocate. A staunch environmental preservationist and conservationist. The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service Award in 2016, Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur in 2017, first Awardee of Women of the Future Social Entrepreneur in SouthEast Asia, and The Outstanding Men and Women of the Philippines 2018. Cherrie also led AGREA in winning the UN Global Compact the Global Responsible Business Award 2017 for Agriculture Excellence, and the 4th ASEAN Rural Poverty Eradication Leadership Awards in 2019. She is a High-Level Ambassador of the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition, an Advisory Board member of the World Bank Solutions for Youth Employment, 2020 class of the Young Global Leaders (YGL) - the World Economic Forum’s foundation for remarkable leaders under 40, and a Board Member of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) based in Geneva Switzerland.

She is always one of the United Nations Food Systems Champions and the Philippines Department of Agriculture Food Security Ambassador.

She has been featured in national and global news portal, prints and digital.


Amy Haddad (Australia)

Director, GEDSI, TetraTech International Development

Amy Haddad has over 20 years of experience working in gender equality and social inclusion, from the grassroots through to international fora.

She has over 14 years of experience working in the Australian Public Service. Amy has particular experience in the development of policy and strategy related to international development, foreign policy, M&E/aid performance, human rights, and multilateralism.

She is deeply committed to social norm change and believes that inclusive institutional culture and finding innovative and pragmatic solutions to work smarter not harder are essential to navigating the future of work.

Amy has a track record for finding practical solutions for investing in fit-for-purpose evidence and accountability mechanisms.


Dr. Iderlina Mateo-Babiano (Philippines)

Assistant Dean (Diversity & Inclusion) / Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning University of Melbourne

Dr Derlie Mateo-Babiano is Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning. An architect, urban planner and transport planner by training, she joined the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne in 2017.

As a scholar in sustainable transportation science, she has advanced a significant body of knowledge in active transport, particularly bicycle sharing and pedestrianization, gender and transport, indigenous transport, transport history, with theory and policy implication within the Australian, but more extensively, in the Asian setting.

Her research is fundamentally concerned with improving the understanding of how the interaction of land use and transport creates unique transport mobility and accessibility challenges and investigates the extent to which the built environment influences transport participation and use. Contextualised within the Asia-Pacific region, she argues that encouraging behavioural shift to more active forms of transport (e.g. walking and cycling) is vital to achieving more sustainable and inclusive cities.

She leads the Women in Transportation Leadership in Australasia, a knowledge network solely dedicated to empowering women and developing a critical mass of female transport leaders in the in the Australasian region.

She teaches and coordinates several urban planning subjects both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include: Master of Urban Planning capstone studio, Healthy Communities, Cities without Slum, and Urban Design and Planning Studies (commencing 2018). She has held several visiting positions overseas. Most recently, she was visiting professor at the De La Salle University, in the Philippines.

Prior to her current position at MSD, she has taught at the University of Queensland's planning program and was affiliated with Queensland Transport and Main Roads. She is also active in consulting in several ASEAN cities.



Jeannie Javelosa (Philippines)

Co-Founder, ECHO Store Sustainable Lifestyle / Director, GREAT Women Philippines

Jeannie Javelosa is an Advocate-Thought Leader for culture, sustainability and gender. She is also a Writer-Artist, Awarded Book Author and International Speaker with reach in the regions of ASEAN, MENA and South Asia. As a social entrepreneur, she is a Co-Founder of the pioneering and multi-awarded retail store and social enterprise ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle (ECHO=Environment Community, Hope, Organization) and ECHOsi Foundation (ECHOsi=Empowering Communities with Hope and Opportunities for Sustainable Initiatives), focused on programs for product development and market access for products of small artisan communities; and the accelerator of social enterprises. She is the prime mover of the innovative GREAT Women Brand Platform. This is a multi-stakeholder inclusive gender platform in the Philippines that works with standards preparing women enterprises in both products and service sector reach markets. GREAT Women’s pivot from an integrated handmade textile supply chain to now bringing women services online. She is also co-founder of the communications- stakeholder agency, The EON Group, multi-awarded in the Asia Pacific Region.

Jeannie was Asia-Pacific Finalist Winner to the 2012 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award in Paris; 2018 Go Negosyo Outstanding Women’s Entrepreneur Awardee; 2018 Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Awardee from Bangkok; For GREAT Women, she won the 2020 UN WEPs Asia Pacific Award Philippine Champion for two categories: Leadership Commitment and Gender Responsive Marketplace; and 2nd Runner up in the Regional awards for Gender Responsive Marketplace. Jeannie is also Founding Director for the Philippine Women Entrepreneur Network (PHILWEN) and a Board member of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines. She also sits as private sector representative for the Women sector at the Department of Trade and Industry’s Micro-Small and Medium Scale Industries Council.

Jeannie graduated with her Bachelors Degree Magna Cum Laude and Outstanding Leadership Award in the Philippines, and followed with a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. The first half of her career path was as an award-winning artist, art critic and author, continues to be a consultant as a museum director and branding strategist. Through her professional life, she has been given travel and study grants by the countries of Australia, the United States, France, Korea and ASEAN.

As Writer and Author, she has produced award-winning coffee table books such as ART PHILIPPINES, The LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE OF NATIONAL ARTIST ILDEFONSO P. SANTOS to name a few, had a twenty year old column in the Philippine Star writing on consciousness and practical spirituality with books such as ANTHOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT, and her LIVING AWAKE SERIES. Her publications on Women include PLANET ENTREPRENEUR, Chapter on Women and Minority Entrepreneurs, published by Wiley and Sons; WOMEN BEYOND BORDERS: THE BEGINNING OF GREAT WOMEN IN ASEAN, published by the USAid in 2016, and FEMININE RISING: THE BEGINNING OF GREAT WOMEN published by the EON Foundation in 2018.


Hawwa Leesha (Maldives, Alumni)

Co-Founder and Advocacy Director, Institute for Wellness Education

Hawwa Leesha has a Masters in Counseling from Monash University, Melbourne Australia under an Australia Awards scholarship. She graduated in the year 2013 with all Distinctions and High distinctions.

Studying and living in Australia aided Leesha in many ways, it made her eyes open for a culture of tolerance, mutual respect and valuing human life and dignity. After her studies she wanted to give back to the community. Time spent in Australia helped her to find her voice, build up her confidence and talk openly about issues in the society. She started searching for solutions and sustainable approaches to help people.

In the year 2018 along with her friends, she opened up the first ever women centre in the community (a multi purpose organization, ranging from child care to counselling to physical fitness programs). In the year 2019 she co-founded a training institute named Institute for Wellness Education.

Along with new business initiatives, she is a visiting lecturer at different colleges and also the Maldives National University. She co-developed a TV program and a radio program (talk show) to create a platform where people can talk about taboo topics and social issues that arise in communities.

During last year's lockdown(1st July 2020), Leesha started her blog, dedicated to topics ranging from mental health to parenting to social issues.

She co-initiated and developed a youtube channel on 11th June 2021 ( for meditation and relaxation exercises in Maldivian Language. Leesha works on Script writing, voice recording and playing the role of an advisor to other counselors involved in the process.

Leesh advocates to reduce inequality, any form of discrimination or exclusion. She is an international speaker, a gender advocate, a social advocate and a mother of three daughters.

She hopes to create a better future for her daughters and all daughters of the world.

Hawwa Leesha, is currently the Chairperson of Maldives Australia Alumni Association and a member of Australia Awards Women in Leadership Network.


Dr. Shashini Gamage (Sri Lanka, Alumni)

Research Associate, La Trobe University

Shashini Gamage is a researcher, journalist, and filmmaker, based in Australia and Sri Lanka.

Her research examines gender, media, and migration, utilising ethnography, video and photographic methods. She is a Research Associate, Sociology, at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She teaches media research methods at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. She works with Sri Lankan migrant communities in Australia, exploring their media cultures and gendered spaces. She is the recipient of an Australia Awards scholarship and conducted her PhD at La Trobe University (2012-16), producing a transnational media ethnography of Sri Lankan women’s soap opera cultures in Australia and Sri Lanka.

Her work in journalism includes producing documentaries about women, peace, and security during the civil war in Sri Lanka (2004-10). She is also the founder of Women Talk (2017), a digital archive of multimedia journalism that documents feminist activism in Sri Lanka.