The Australian Fulbright Alumni Association (AFAA) is governed by a National Committee of elected AFAA members. AFAA has local chapters in each Australian state and territory. To get involved in local activities make sure to nominate your local chapter affiliation in your member profile. Each chapter hosts a number of events each year including public lectures, dinners and informal get togethers.
Dr Rod Kennett, President
In November 2021, Dr Rod Kennett became AFAA's President. Rod is Director - Discovery and Engagement at Geoscience Australia where leads teams responsible for education and outreach, library and research support, collections, visitor services and Indigenous engagement. With a PhD in Zoology, Rod has held teaching, research and management roles at the University of Canberra, Kakadu National Park; the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance; and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Studies; and Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre. In 2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Alaska studying Indigenous Conservation-based Livelihoods.
Angela Heise, Vice President
Angela Heise is a leadership coach and social, emotional and cultural intelligence trainer, who works with individuals and organisations in all industries. Angela was a Fulbright scholar in 1986-87 at the University of California at Berkeley where she completed her Masters in Chinese American history with a thesis on the origins of the stereotype of the Chinese laundryman. She was subsequently awarded the Fulbright Cultural Enrichment grant to work at the New York Chinatown History Project.
Shuja Jamal, Secretary
Shuja Jamal is a researcher and former senior Afghan civil servant. He served as the director-general for international relations and regional cooperation at the Afghan National Security Council, where he helped manage Afghanistan’s security partnerships. He also served as director for peace and civilian protection and handled Afghanistan’s policy portfolio on international sanctions, including those of the UN Security Council and the US against Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.
Prior to his civil service work, he was a researcher for Human Rights Watch and served as director for development at the American University of Afghanistan, helping to reopen the university after the devastating terrorist attack on campus in August 2016.
Jamal has authored several publications, including for the US Institute of Peace and Human Rights Watch. He is also the coauthor (with Prof. William Maley) of a forthcoming book, the Decline and Fall of Republican Afghanistan (Hurst).
He did his Fulbright in 2017-19 at Georgetown University, where he studied public policy.
Ange Leech, Incoming Treasurer
Ange Leech is a community consultant, multimedia artist, and entrepreneur. Predominantly based in remote communities and prisons, she is currently the coordinator of a remote multimedia arts based project called Milpa and is working with the Spinifex Arts Project in collaboration with Anangu artists from the community of Tjuntjuntjara in southern part of the Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia. Ange has led multinational cultural and creative collaborations including East Timor, Rwanda and the USA, and has received multiple accolades across Australia such as Noosa Regional Gallery's Travelling Scholarship and an Asialink Artists in Residence. She holds a MA in Peace and Justice from the University of San Diego and a High Honours in Fine Arts from RMIT University. Ange was awarded the Western Australian Fulbright Scholarship in 2019 to collaborate with US artists and communities impacted by high prison rates.
Dr Vanessa Adams, Outgoing Treasurer
Dr Vanessa Adams is a conservation biologist and is an Associate Professor in Conservation and Planning at University of Tasmania. Her research applies economic concepts and social consultation to make environmental policy more effective. She was an American Fulbright Scholar in 2004-2005 visiting the University of Queensland and has remained engaged in the program as an alumnus. She joined AFAA in 2012 and has served as an NT chapter contact, National Committee Secretary, and National Committee Treasurer.
Dr Aiden Warren, Internship Program Coordinator
Professor Aiden Warren is a Fulbright Scholar in Australia-United States Alliance Studies, sponsored by the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT). He completed his Fulbright at the Arms Control Association in Washington DC investigating the United States’ nuclear modernization plans and the impact this will have on global security. He is a Professor in RMIT University's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. Aiden’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of International Security, US national security and foreign policy, US Politics, International Relations, issues associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation, non-proliferation and arms control and emerging technologies.
Prof Nigel Andrew, Mentorship Program Manager
Nigel is a 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholar. He is currently the Discipline Chair of Science at Southern Cross University. His research investigates the responses of insects (native and introduced; pests and natural enemies) to environmental extremes and rapid climatic changes. Nigel is currently a panel member of the Australian Research Council, College of Experts. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Austral Ecology, Chair of the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, and vice-President of the Entomological Society of NSW. Additionally, Nigel is a member of the NSW Fulbright Postgraduate, Postdoctoral, and Future Scholar Scholarship Panels.
Stefanie Sestak, Mentorship Program Coordinator
Stefanie is a Bachelor of International Studies (Global Security) graduate who is currently working as a HR Officer at the Sunshine Coast Council. Her role focuses primarily on HR policy and procedure review and internal HR project management. Outside of work, she also contracts her administration and communications skills out through her business Expert Admin by Stef. Stefanie came on board with AFAA in 2022 as their inaugural social media and communications intern and has now returned to coordinate and manage AFAA's Mentorship Program.
Diana Zhang, Social Media Manager
Diana is a multi-award winning scholar, STEM ambassador, and professional musician. She holds dual first class honours and the University Medal in Bachelor of Music and Science. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of New South Wales. Her research integrates state-of-the art chemical instrumentation and machine learning for disease diagnosis. She has served in numerous scientific and leadership positions including as a Science presenter and Vice-President on UNSW Postgraduate Council. She is currently a Board Director of Science & Technology Australia, which represents over 100,000 STEM professionals. Diana was on a 2021 Fulbright Future Scholarship to work on machine learning with the Kolachalama Laboratory at Boston University.
Leilani Richmond, Social Media Coordinator
Leilani is a Bachelor of International Studies (Global Security) graduate who is currently working in Human Resources in the private sector. Outside of work, she volunteers as a Peer Mentor to current undergraduate students and is the former President of the International Studies Association at RMIT University. She also has experience in Leilani joined AFAA in 2022 as an intern and has stayed on to manage AFAA's social media.