ACICIS National Reference Group

ACICIS programs and activities are governed by a National Reference Group consisting of senior academic Indonesia-specialists and international student mobility professionals representing all Australian state and territory jurisdictions, as well as several “members by invitation” appointed to the Reference Group by virtue of, and for, their particular specialist knowledge, expertise, or professional experience.

The National Reference Group is responsible for approving and taking the lead in implementing all ACICIS initiatives and activities; monitoring the consortium’s activities and financial position; determining matters of policy relating to ACICIS – including the fees payable by consortium members; and ratifying the decisions of the Consortium Director to the extent required by the ACICIS Joint Venture Agreement to which all consortium member universities are party.

Consortium Director (Chair)

Liam Prince

Liam Prince was appointed ACICIS Consortium Director in July 2018. As Consortium Director, Liam provides executive leadership of ACICIS and is responsible for all aspects of the consortium’s operations— both in Australia and Indonesia.

Liam joined ACICIS’ Perth team as a Secretariat Officer in 2012. Prior to taking up the role within the Secretariat, Liam was working closely with then ACICIS Consortium Director, Professor David Hill AM, on an ALTC Teaching Fellowship focused on developing a national plan for the future of Indonesian language studies in Australian universities.

From 2014-2018 Liam served as ACICIS Secretariat Manager, heading a small team (of 6 staff) at the consortium’s national secretariat at The University of Western Australia in Perth.

Liam completed his initial undergraduate studies in Economics and Indonesian at The University of Western Australia in 2006. In 2012 he obtained First Class Honours in Indonesian from UWA’s School of Social and Cultural Studies.

ACT & TAS Representation

Dr Ross Tapsell


Ross Tapsell is a senior lecturer and researcher at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific, specialising in media and culture in Island Southeast Asia. He is the author of Media Power in Indonesia: Oligarchs, Citizens and the Digital Revolution and co-editor of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence.

As well as scholarly publications, Ross’s articles have appeared in The Canberra Times, The Guardian, The Converstaion, Tempo, The Jakarta Post, the Malay Mail and others. He has previously worked in Indonesia with The Jakarta Post and the Lombok Post.

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NSW Representation

Dr Elisabeth Kramer


Dr Elisabeth Kramer is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, a Scientia Fellow and an ARC DECRA Fellow (2023) at UNSW Sydney. She previously held the position of Deputy Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney. She completed a PhD in Indonesian Studies, focused on Indonesian political parties and their use of anti-corruption discourse in political communication and campaigning. Elisabeth has taught a number of Southeast Asia-related courses, including in-country field school units as well as Indonesian language to non-native speakers.

Dr Kramer also holds a BSc/BA(Asian Studies)(Hons) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University. Between studying and working in academia she has also worked as a public servant, an international development consultant and an ESL teacher.
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Professor Lesley Harbon

Deputy Member

Lesley Harbon is Professor and Head of School in the Schools of International Studies and Education at the University of Technology Sydney. She completed her undergraduate degree and teaching qualifications at the University of Sydney, majoring in Indonesian and German. After graduating from the University of New England with a Master of Education, Lesley pursued her PhD in languages education at the University of Tasmania. Lesley has taught Indonesian in primary, secondary and tertiary language programs since the early 1980s, prior to moving into language teacher education in the 1990s. Lesley’s most recent collaborative research project is a linguistic landscape study about food and nutrition messages in Indonesia’s school landscapes.

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QLD Representation

Professor Caitlin Byrne


Professor Caitlin Byrne is Director of the Griffith Asia Institute. Prior to joining Griffith University, Caitlin was Assistant Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy at Bond University, Gold Coast. She is a Faculty Fellow of the University of Southern California’s Centre for Public Diplomacy (CPD), and alumna of the Asialink Leaders Program 2016.

Caitlin’s teaching and research is focused on diplomacy and soft power in the Asia-Pacific with a special interest in the role and relevance of people-to-people links including those forged through international education, culture, sport and social media.

Caitlin consults on occasion to government. She is deeply engaged in Queensland’s international policy community, including as a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Queensland Executive, and the Fulbright Selection Committee for Queensland.

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Dr Annie Pohlman

 Deputy Member

Dr Annie Pohlman teaches Indonesian at The School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Queensland. Her research investigates historical injustices and she works closely with a range of Indonesian human rights groups on the documentation of abuses.

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SA & NT Representation

VIC Representation

Ms Sarah Argles


Sarah Argles is the Manager, Risk, Safety and Global Campus at Monash University. She has over 15 years of experience in differing roles in the learning abroad sector and has expertise in travel risk and safety, study tour development and learning abroad governance. She led her first ever study tour to Indonesia in 2013, which transformed into one of the first New Colombo Plan funded programs. Sarah has a BS Business Administration from the Ohio State University, an MA Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, is an IEAA (Associate Fellow) and is an active member of Pulse: International Safety and Security Professionals in Higher Education, Inc.

Ms Philippa Scott

Deputy Member

Philippa Scott is Coordinator, Global Experiences at RMIT University. She has 15 years’ experience in higher education in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with the last 10 at RMIT supporting student global experiences and mobility. She is a passionate advocate for RMIT staff and student engagement in the Indo-pacific, and also works on international risk and student pre departure and travel support. Philippa has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand.

WA Representation

Consortium Host University (UWA) Representation

David Norman

Host (UWA) Representative

David Norman is Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Western Australia. He leads the UWA’s counter foreign interference work and is the Secretary of UWA’s Defence and Security Committee.

With former Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister Stephen Smith, David created UWA Public Policy Institute, which works to increase the translation of UWA research into evidence-based policy, and to increase the impact of UWA’s work in Australia, the Indian Ocean Region and the Indo-Pacific. He is a former board member of the Australia Indonesia Centre and former Chair of the WA-East Java Universities Consortium. David has 30 years of experience working in public and private tertiary education in Australia, the UK, Japan and Spain, and in government in the UK.

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Members by Invitation

Dr Sara Beavis

Member by invitation

Dr Sara Beavis is a Senior Lecturer at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University where she convenes and teaches courses in water science, water management and island sustainability at undergraduate and graduate levels.  She has published extensively on the impacts of natural and anthropogenic processes on water quality, water security and water management.  Current research includes: the transport and fluxes of heavy metals associated with artisanal mining in eastern Indonesia; the implications of climate variability and change on water and sediment quality in inland and coastal aquatic environments; and, examining the ethical dimensions of water resources management in the Pacific and Pacific Rim region.

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Professor David Hill AM

Emeritus Professor David T. Hill AM
Founder and Immediate Past Consortium Director

David Hill is Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Murdoch University in Perth and both the founder and immediate past Director of ACICIS. David has an extensive record of research and publication on Indonesian media, literature, biography, and cultural politics. David has served as a Board Member of the DFAT Australia-Indonesia Institute (2011-14) and previously chaired the Board of Management of Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre. View Bio

Lydia Santoso

Member by invitation

Lydia is an Australian qualified lawyer and public notary, specialising in the area of Indonesian-Australian law. She speaks fluent Indonesian and English and has worked in law firms in both Sydney and Jakarta. Lydia has acted for many Australian businesses with interests in Indonesia, Indonesian business owners located in the greater Sydney area, Indonesian property developers, and many Indonesians living in Australia. She has also represented the Indonesian Government in Sydney. Lydia is passionate about fostering Australia – Indonesia relations and spends much of her time on philanthropic endeavours in this field. She currently holds appointments as an Advisory Board Member of DFAT’s Australia Indonesia Institute (since 2015), Vice Chair of the NSW Branch of the Australia Indonesia Business Council, and as the founding Chair of the Balai Bahasa & Budaya Indonesia of NSW.

Louise McGrath

Member by invitation

Louise McGrath is Head of Industry Development and Policy at the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). She has a particular interest in international business training and facilitation, trade and border regulations, and international transport. Louise has extensive experience providing advice and counseling to manufacturing companies on export and trade related matters. She regularly represents Australian industry in multilateral forums such as the B20 Coalition and the East Asia Business Council working group on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Louise has advocated for the interests of Ai Group members within several free trade agreement negotiations. Louise has a Bachelor of Arts (Arabic Language and Culture) from Deakin University and an Advanced Diploma in International Trade from RMIT. She has studied Arabic at universities in Jordan and Egypt.

Dr Kirrilee Hughes

Member by invitation

Dr Kirrilee Hughes is an international education professional with expertise across Southeast Asia and in the global higher education and schools sectors. She has held leadership and strategy roles for global education organisations as well as sessional teaching and research positions at four leading Australian universities. Kirrilee is a Senior Fellow of the International Education Association of Australia and currently works in Singapore, where she has founded an international education consultancy – Bestari Consulting.

Kirrilee’s doctoral research, undertaken through the Australian National University, focused on Australia’s Asia literacy agenda. She also completed her honours degree at ANU and is an ACICIS alumni – having undertaken two semesters of study in Indonesia through ACICIS in 2001. Kirrilee has previously managed the Australia Indonesia Business Council and held the role of Supervising Program Manager for the Australian Phase of the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program, funded through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Elena Williams

Member by invitation

Elena Williams is a higher education consultant and PhD candidate at The Australian National University, researching the impact of DFAT-funded learning abroad programs (including the New Colombo Plan and ACICIS) on Australia-Indonesia relationship building. Between 2013 – 2017 she served as ACICIS’ Resident Director in Indonesia, and has since advised on learning abroad and higher education to Indonesia with The University of Melbourne, The Victorian Department of Education, Palladium, Tetra Tech and Cowater International. Elena holds an MA in Gender and Development Studies (ANU), BA Honours in Indonesian Studies (USyd), and a BA Communications and International Studies (UTS). Elena regularly presents at conferences and speaks with media on Australia-Indonesia relations, learning abroad and higher education, and currently serves on the board of DFAT’s Australia-Indonesia Institute, and as a panel member for The Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program, The Australia Awards Indonesia, and The New Colombo Plan’s selection committees.

In February 2024, Elena was selected by The Australian Government as a delegate in the ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders’ Dialogue and in 2022 was awarded ANU’s Sir Raymond Firth Research Prize in recognition of her research on the Australia-Indonesia relationship. She is a proud ACICIS alumna from 2005 (Semester 21), where she completed a year of in-country study in Yogyakarta.