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Our team

Meet our team of dedicated staff. Working at Act for Peace is gives you the opportunity to use your skills to make a real difference to the lives of others. To find out about how you can join our team visit our jobs area.

 

Janet Cousens

Act for Peace - Janet Cousens

Interim Executive Director

In July 2016, Janet was appointed to the position of Interim Exective Director, following her appointment as the Programs and Policy Director in December 2010. With a long history in management, Janet joined Act for Peace in May 2008, where she was responsible as International Program Coordinator for our Burma, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Syria programs. Previously working on policy and program initiatives for a range of agencies including STARTTS, the NSW Refugee Health Service and NSW Health, the focus of Janet's work prior to joining Act for Peace has been on refugee resettlement, with a specific focus on health. During this time, Janet travelled as a volunteer to Indonesia and the Thai Burma border on several occasions to participate in health based training for refugees and IDPs. Janet’s entry into the humanitarian sector followed a vocation change from the world of international television, where she specialised in documentaries, working for a number of international organisations. Janet holds a Bachelor of Social Work, completing her Honours thesis on resettlement issues for Tamil Sri Lankan women, and a BA (Mass Comm).

“I firmly believe that we have a positive role to play in partnering with communities where we can fill the gap in the opportunities they have available to them to address the mechanisms that lead to injustices impacting on their lives. I’m constantly encouraged by the work of our partners and their belief that change is possible.”

Misha Coleman

Act for Peace - Misha Coleman

Strategic Adviser & Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Executive Officer

Misha has extensive experience living and working in the regions from which people flee as asylum seekers and refugees including Palestine, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam and Cambodia. She was formerly the CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, and has also worked for the Australian Government’s aid agency AusAID, at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, and has led Asian Development Bank and US Government aid programs in the Asia-pacific region. She has a Masters degree in Environmental Law and post-graduate qualifications in development studies, monitoring and evaluation.

Formerly, as a Registered Nurse and Midwife, Misha worked in black townships in South Africa during apartheid and in several Australian indigenous communities throughout the 1990’s. In 2000 she was awarded the Australian Service Medal by the Australian Government for active duty in the Multinational Peacekeeping Mission to Bougainville. In 2007 she was awarded two medals by the Government of Vietnam for services to development. Misha was elected as a Board Member of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid in 2011, the peak body for Australian NGOs which operate in the international aid and development sector, and is also currently an elected Councillor in the City of Yarra.

International Programs & Policy Team

 

James Thomson

Act for Peace - James Thomson

Policy & Advocacy Associate Director

James has served as the Act for Peace National Advocacy Officer for the Program on Refugees and Displaced People, and is currently Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy. James was the Rapporteur for UNHCR’s Annual Consultations with NGOs in 2007 and 2008, and he has attended the Ministerial Consultations and the DIAC-NGO Dialogue on Humanitarian Issues for the past seven years. James co-chairs the ACFID Protection Working Group, is the founding member and chair of the ACT International Protection Advisory Group, and is heavily involved in refugee rights work.

Prior to his current position he spent five years in Ethiopia and Eritrea working as a journalist and in the development field.

“I find my work to be a continuous challenge, but am motivated and inspired by the work of our project partners. I've worked for Act for Peace for eight years, but I continue to be amazed by our collaborative partnerships and what can be achieved when sharing common goals.”

Tamara-Domicelj

Act for Peace - Tamara-Domicelj

Regional Refugee Protection Adviser

Tamara was appointed to the newly created position of Regional Refugee Protection Adviser with Act for Peace in July 2012. 

She is also currently the Deputy Chair of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) – a civil society network dedicated to the advancement of refugee rights across the Asia Pacific region. APRRN is a growing and diverse network with over 160 mostly organisational members across more than 20 countries spanning New Zealand through to Iran. 

Tamara’s previous roles include: National Policy Director of the Refugee Council of Australia; Director of the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW; consultant on immigration detention and asylum seeker policy to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Oxfam Australia; and manager of a psycho-social settlement education program with the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Services NSW. Tamara has also managed a human rights organisation in Mexico City and worked with displaced indigenous communities in southern Mexico. Tamara has sat on the management committee of several organisations working to strengthen protection for refugees, including the Refugee Advice and Casework Service NSW. 

Tamara completed her Master of International Social Development with the Centre for Refugee Research at UNSW. She is an alumnus of the Benevolent Society’s Sydney Leadership Program and received a Premier’s Award for her work with refugee youth in Western Sydney.

Ben Fraser

Act for Peace - Ben Fraser

Peacebuilding Team Manager

Ben brings a wealth of international experience to the agency. He has undertaken a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Literature and has completed a Masters of Social Sciences in International Development. Ben has worked for Oxfam, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, International Lifeline Fund and has worked on the ground in many countries, managing the operations of programs in Sudan-Darfur, Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia. He is now working with our partners in the conflict-weary Gaza Strip, the Philippines, Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Papua and Zimbabwe.

“I find the inner strength of those facing adversity and their determination to make a better life absolutely inspiring.”

John Ball

Act for Peace - John Ball

International Programs Coordinator

John has a long history in policy and advocacy work. He is truly dedicated to ecumenism and has been heavily involved on Australian Indigenous issues, Sri Lankan peace advocacy and has played an integral role in the refugee and displaced peoples programs of Act for Peace. John was awarded the Sir Ron Wilson Human Rights Award in 2009. This award is presented to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to advancing human rights in the international development sector. John is currently an International Program Coordinator working with project partners in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, India and with the Christian Conference of Asia. John has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Psychology) at the Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in Management, RMIT and a Diploma in Education at La Trobe University.

“Serving and challenging the churches, as individuals and institutions, to advance ecumenical efforts for God’s shalom and salvation, is an inspiring but also often difficult mission.”

Geoff Robinson

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

Disaster Risk Resilience Manager

Geoff brings more than 15 years’ experience in community, partner and government focused environmental programming, including community based climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Geoff is an effective facilitator who has lead strategic and program planning, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, policy development, consultation processes and training programs. He has been based in the Pacific for the last 5 years where he has managed a range of education, development, emergency preparedness and humanitarian programs in Vanuatu.

Sharon Edington

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

International Programs Coordinator

Since 2006, Sharon Edington has worked in a variety of international development and humanitarian settings including Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Lebanon, Palestine, the Republic of Georgia, Chile’s Atacama desert and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She holds a Master of Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Bradford, undertaken in her capacity as a Rotary Peace Fellow from 2013-2014. Sharon also holds two undergraduate degrees from The University of Queensland (UQ) related to development and international relations. Prior to joining Act for Peace, Sharon held roles with ActionAid Palestine, CARE International in the Caucasus, and UQ International Development. She is committed to volunteering her time and experience whenever possible, including  with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the British Red Cross, Shelterbox emergency response, Association Najdeh in Shatila refugee camp, the Chilean Ministry of Education and with the Rotary Foundation and clubs. Her interest relates primarily to gender sensitive programming and advocacy, particularly related to refugees and asylum seekers.

Laura Spano

Act for Peace - Laura Spano

Safe Societies and Arms Control Manager

Laura joined the team in May 2015 to run the Secretariat of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG) hosted by the Center for Armed Violence Reduction and work with Act for Peace to create safer societies through injury and violence reduction.

Laura has seven years' experience working with International NGOs at the UN in New York and internationally in over 12 conflict and violence affected countries. A policy analyst and campaign manager in the prevention of conflict and armed violence, Laura spent five years as the peace and security officer for the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at UN Headquarters advocating for the responsibility to protect norm, international civilian protection mechanisms and ensuring the link between peace and security in UN frameworks. Her previous experience with NGOs in the USA, Australia, Rwanda, Colombia and South Africa focused on human rights, civilian protection, education and refugee policies.

Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

Assistant Regional Program Manager

Dorothy is responsible for program development, implementation, finance and project monitoring and evaluation of disaster and climate-related programs in Fiji, Tonga, Solomon and Vanuatu. She works closely with the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), government ministries, faith-based organisations, civil society groups and NGOs in these four countries. Dorothy is the focal point in Tonga on gender for the Pacific Humanitarian Team and is dedicated to improving commitment to gender equality and social inclusion, particularly in the event of disaster.

Aruna Thebuwana

Act for Peace - Aruna Thebuwana

Program Finance Officer

Aruna is an experienced professional in accounting and finance and joined Act for Peace in April 2012. Aruna is a Chartered Accountant by profession and also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance. He has worked in both accounting public practice as an auditor and in the corporate profit and not-for-profit sectors as  a finance professional. He counts over 13 years of experience, particularly in financial reporting, compliance and capacity building.

“I look for opportunities to apply my years of experience in finance to the organisations I work for and to continuously improve and add value.” 

Marketing & Communications Team

Ben Littlejohn

Act for Peace - Ben Littlejohn

Marketing and Communication Director

Ben moved from the UK to lead the Marketing and Communications team in May 2012. 

He brings with him extensive experience of marketing in the international aid and development sector. He has held a number of senior fundraising and campaigning roles, and prior to joining Act for Peace was Head of Innovation and Change Strategy at Oxfam GB, where he spent nine years.

Ben has managed high-profile fundraising initiatives in a range of disciplines including events, community, digital, corporate, direct marketing, and institutional fundraising and he has worked on campaigns tackling poverty, trade justice, arms control and climate change.

Before switching to international development, Ben worked in a number of commercial marketing roles for companies including Procter & Gamble. 

He has been lucky enough to visit development programs in Tanzania, Namibia, Nepal and Sierra Leone and feels privileged to be part of a network of committed people making a lasting difference through Act for Peace.

Marketing and Campaigns Team

Sarah Gregory

Act for Peace - Sarah Gregory

Head of Marketing and Campaigns

Sarah started with Act for Peace in March 2010. She holds a Masters with Distinction in International Development and a Bachelor of Communication. Sarah's previous experience is in advocacy campaigns, as the Coordinator of the Make Poverty History campaign in Australia from 2005 to 2007, then as the Global Mobilisation and Outreach Coordinator for the Global Call to Action against Poverty, where she had the privilege of working with pro-poor campaigners in 115 countries. Prior to joining Act for Peace, Sarah was a researcher for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, on its Global Project for Measuring the Progress of Societies. Sarah has lived and worked in South Africa, Chile and France, and travelled extensively through the developing world.

Lisa Roberts

 

Marketing Data Analyst

Lisa joins Act For Peace with extensive brand and database marketing experience. Lisa has held various marketing positions in the corporate sector since the year 2000 for companies such as Brady Corporation, Rodenstock and Pacific Magazines.

Lisa is also a Board Member for Hope For Orphans and Vulnerable Children(HOVC Aust. Inc.) and volunteers for other programs and events at her local church. Lisa is passionate about justice and advocacy and is an active member of Catalyst, a group facilitated by Baptist World Aid that meets to learn, act and raise awareness in her local community about areas of social justice and advocacy.

Lisa joined Act For Peace in November, 2014 as our Marketing Data Analyst and is also a proud wife and mother of two beautiful boys. She is passionate about using her skills and experience to help make a difference in the world for those who are less fortunate, often living in extreme poverty or in oppression.
 

Delphine Vuagnoux

Act for Peace - Delphine Vuagnoux

Marketing Coordinator

Delphine brings  her rich experience in marketing and communications to the team of Act for Peace, with experience in France and in Australia, in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Her experience encompasses PR, Digital marketing, event management, direct mail fundraising, strategic communications, copywriting and project management. She completed a Masters in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of New South Wales in June 2012. Before starting at Act for Peace, Delphine worked at AAP-Medianet, the business branch of the Australian Associated Press, and at All Together Now, the only national not-for-profit group dedicated to erasing racism. Previously, she worked in France as a Communications Officer in the not-for-profit and public housing sectors. Delphine has travelled extensively all over Asia and Europe. 

Claire Evins

Act for Peace - Claire Evins

Marketing Coordinator

Claire joined the team in 2014 and comes from a background in global brand marketing. The ability to transfer her knowledge and skills to help those less fortunate is appealing and an exciting change from consumer products. 

Claire is receiving news from our partners on the ground to share their experiences with our Changemakers in Peace Mail.  “I want to share the stories of hope from children and families around the world,” Claire says. “Our Changemakers make it possible for people in refugee camps and war zones to have hope and rebuild their lives.” 

Susan Lorenzo

Act for Peace - Susan Lorenzo

Marketing Officer

Susan began working as an intern at Act for Peace in May 2010 and moved into her current position in September of the same year. She obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of New South Wales.

“I consider myself truly fortunate to work with people so skilled, enthusiastic and determined to help some of the most disadvantaged people in the world, and to be able to contribute to that work myself.”

Karen McGrath

Act for Peace - Karen McGrath

Marketing Coordinator - Ration Challenge 

Karen completed a Bachelor of Communications and Media at Wollongong university before embarking on a career in the not for profit sector. Whilst studying she gained professional experience in marketing communications, public relations and advertising with various organisations including the University of Wollongong, Student Marketing Australia, the ACT conservation council and the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. She has recently returned from travelling abroad throughout India and South East Asia and intends to combine her corporate skills with a passion for social justice and international development in order to make a difference in the not for profit sector.

Community Fundrasing Team

Jeff Wild

Act for Peace - Jeff Wild

Development Officer, VIC & TAS

Jeff was previously a teacher and has completed an M.Ed. in Religious Education. Since then he has worked for most of the last 20 years for the ecumenical movement. He has now completed a Graduate Certificate in International Development. Since joining Act for Peace (then CWS) in 2001, he has travelled to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Fiji, Geneva and Kuala Lumpur to become better informed about the work of our partners. 

“I love meeting our partners and hearing about, and seeing, their inspiring work. I also love meeting our supporters and am thrilled and humbled by their warmth and generosity.”


 




 

 

Jenny Perier

Digital Marketing Lead

Jenny joins Act For Peace with extensive design and digital marketing experience. Jenny has held various marketing positions in the corporate and non for profit sector for many years.
She has both digital and creative skills, having begun working in design and then moved into digital marketing. She’s highly experienced in a range of areas from the full Adobe suite to web design and development, a range of social and web analytics tools, UX design/tools

A busy mum, she is passionate about using her skills and experience to help make a difference in the world for those who are less fortunate, often living in extreme poverty or in oppression.

More ways to take action

You can help prevent children like Maala being born with chronic illnesses by helping pregnant women stay healthy and nourished in the first place.

Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (June 2017). Raise money to support refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.

Right now, thousands of innocent people are fleeing Syria every day to protect their families from bloodshed, violence and death. We need your support to provide emergency relief packs to the families fleeing in Syria.