Our misson is to advocate for cultural diversity leadership and representation within the ALP to achieve a more balanced and equitable representation that reflects the multicultural makeup of Australia.
Poliversity believes in promoting:
a genuine interest in politics and public policy making to people from CALD backgrounds
equal opportunity in decision making process at all levels within the ALP by people from CALD backgrounds
engagement and involvement by people from CALD backgrounds in a respectful and genuine way within the ALP
the potential to serve as representatives of the ALP in parliaments and public institutions by people of CALD backgrounds
Poliversity is founded by Australian Labor Party members Wesa Chau and Jieh-Yung Lo.
Jieh-Yung Lo, Co-Founder
Jieh-Yung is an experienced policy advisor, campaigner and writer.
In his experience working with Australia’s multicultural and CALD communities, Jieh-Yung has noticed the lack of involvement and interest shown by political parties when it comes to engaging multicultural communities in policy development and discussions. As a result, he decided to establish Poliversity to encourage greater culturally diverse representation within Australian parliaments and governments.
Jieh-Yung is currently serving as a local councillor at the City of Monash. In addition, Jieh-Yung has worked as a senior policy and project officer at two of Victoria’s largest peak bodies, the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV).
Jieh-Yung regularly writes opinion pieces for a number of publications on multiculturalism, cultural diversity, social inclusion and politics. His op-ed pieces has been widely published in The Age, The Big Issue, the Australian Financial Review, SBS: The World Game, South China Morning Post, Online Opinion and Pro Bono News. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Political Science and Asian Studies from the University of Melbourne.
Wesa Chau, Co-Founder
Wesa is Director of Cultural Intelligence, a specialist consulting firm with cultural diversity experts from a range of professions. We combine academic understanding with real world experience to deliver solutions for businesses and individuals. She is also a regular commentator on television and radio and has published a range of articles and opinion pieces on international education, cultural diversity and the Asian Century. She has received the following awards and honours:
- Victorian International Education Award 2016
- Finalist Agenda Setter of the year – Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards 2016
- Australian Leadership Award 2013
- Inductee to Victorian Honour Roll of Women 2012
- Rising Star Award for Young Alumni (University of Melbourne) 2012
- Young Victorian of the Year 2010
- Australia Day Ambassador and Responsible Gambling Ambassador
- Finalist Premier’s Community Volunteering Leadership Award (Metropolitan) 2010
- Volunteers Award 2006
- Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs 2006
- Melbourne Award (Youth) 2005
- Delegate to Australia-China Youth Dialogue
- Scholarship to Global Leadership Program in Boston 2011
Wesa is a director for Carers Victoria and formally InTouch – Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria and 3ZZZ Melbourne Ethnic Community Radio. She was also a member of the Ministerial Overseas Students Experience Taskforce.
She has more than a decade of experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and specialises in Asian cultures. Some of her previous professional roles include, senior manager, project officer and management consultant in industries ranging from healthcare, IT, aged care, disability and international education.
Wesa contested in the 2013 Australian Federal Election an ALP candidate for the seat of Higgins.
She is a PhD candidate in leadership, holds Masters in Business Management; Graduate Diploma of Law; Bachelor of Engineering and Commerce (specialising in software engineering and marketing), and is a qualified teacher.
Karamzo Saccoh, Interim Board Member
Karamzo is a Policy and Government Relations Adviser who has worked for the United Nations University developing policy research and communications materials for African Governments and international partners.
He has previously worked for Amnesty International as an adviser providing policy advice, developing advocacy strategies around various human rights issues and representing the organisation at state and federal parliament and at stakeholder meetings.
Karamzo has a private sector background in investment finance and holds a Bachelor of International Business and Economics and a Master of International Relations.
Dr Kadira Pethiyagoda, Interim Board Member
Dr Kadira Pethiyagoda is a Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a former diplomat and Foreign Service officer who has advised Members of Parliament on foreign policy and national security matters. He was a visiting scholar at Oxford University. His upcoming book examines the role of cultural values in Indian foreign policy. Kadira has published widely on international affairs and politics – particularly on the growing call for economic equality and anti-establishment sentiment. He advocates for Left Wing political movements like Labor to harness the populist wave sweeping the West to bring about greater economic justice. He has worked on political campaigns at all three tiers of government. Kadira’s articles have been published by The Guardian, Foreign Affairs, Lowy Institute, European Council on Foreign Relations, ASPI, major newspapers and Oxford Analytica. He has his own blog with Huffington Post. He has been interviewed by CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and others. Kadira won a manuscript sponsorship to write a book on his experience as a Sri Lankan migrant representing Australia as a diplomat. He served as a Board Member at Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre. Dr Pethiyagoda has been an active member of the Sri Lankan community in Melbourne since migrating as a child in the 80s. He has volunteered in Sri Lankan community organisations and NGOs. Kadira has a PhD in International Relations from Melbourne University, a BA and Masters in Business Systems from Monash University, and is currently undertaking a Masters in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University.
Daye Gang, Interim Board Member
Daye is a management consultant with Nous Group and a PhD candidate at the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University. As part of her consulting work, she has participated in many stakeholder interviews and surveys of board members, senior teachers and university academics. She has contributed to reports which pitch messages and arguments at an appropriate level for stakeholders. She has helped design solutions to complex organisational and legislative problems by taking practical and political constraints into account. She is able to see a solution within its long-term context to help minimise conflict in an evolving world.
Daye also has independent research and advocacy experience with a particular focus on non-legal justice processes. She has published a paper on collaborative practice and her PhD is an evaluation of the South Eastern Centre against Sexual Assault Restorative Justice Pilot. She is currently preparing a paper on racial bias in the decision to imprison in the Victorian County Court.
In late 2016, she is writing a report on transitional justice policy in a future unified Korea with the Citizen’s Alliance on North Korean Human Rights, based on her experience on the executive of the International Commission of Jurists Victoria.
Helen Said, Interim Board Member
Helen Said was born in England and migrated to Australia in 1962. Her parents were Greek-Maltese refugees from Egypt’s Suez Canal Crisis. Helen grew up in Melbourne’s west and completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.
As a student, Helen formed strong political convictions in support of multiculturalism, women’s equality and disability rights. She has played a leading role in numerous community actions including public transport and single mothers’ campaigns. She is the author of Five Egyptian Pounds: the story of George Said, which describes her family’s refugee experiences and her father’s contribution to multiculturalism. Helen runs writers workshops about preserving family immigration history.
Helen now works as a tutor and has several students on the autism spectrum. She chairs the Education Working Group of Inclusive Labor, which campaigns for strong disability policy and diversity. She has also recently been elected as a rank and file representative on the ALP National Policy Forum.
Joshua Funder, Interim Board Member
Joshua Funder is an entrepreneur, healthcare investor, author, company director and aid worker.
Joshua has served as chairman and director of US and Australian companies including Celladon, Peplin and Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and is a winner of the AVCAL early stage investment award. He previously worked at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery start-up in Boston, at BCG in San Francisco, and with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative where he successfully negotiated reduced prices for anti-retrovirals and initiate pharmaceutical supplies across eastern and southern Africa. Joshua was a Co-founder and former chairman of Per Capita, a progressive think thank attracting thousands of active members and changing the Australian political debate in areas such as NDIS funding, TAFE reform and longevity.
Joshua earned a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws degrees at the University of Melbourne, a Master of Laws degree at the London School of Economics and a PhD in intellectual property for biotechnology from Oxford University.
Stuart Whitman, Interim Board Member
Stuart has studied and taught political economy, international public policy and international business. He is an alumnus of the Asialink Leaders Program at the University of Melbourne and has worked in community relations and the legislative process in the Australian House of Representatives and the Senate. Prior to that Stuart worked for six years in the university and vocational education sectors.
Stuart has provided strategic research, communications and coaching support to academics and professionals across a range of business, science and engineering disciplines on projects in Australia, France and China. Stuart currently operates his own business Policy Edge Consulting and has served in management roles on a range of community organisations.
Upcoming events organised by Poliversity.
A dialogue with Senator Jenny McAllister
October 10, 2016Appreciating culturally diverse people in Australian businesses Poliversity is providing a unique opportunity for Australian leaders from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to pa...
Diversity and Diplomacy – Q&A with Tanya Plibersek
June 5, 2016Australians from multicultural backgrounds have the cultural knowledge and language skills to advance Australia’s interests on the global stage. These untapped skills enable Australians from multicult...
Australian Politics 101
May 29, 2016With the 2016 federal election campaign in full swing, you will be receiving lots of information from candidates and political parties in your letterboxes and social media feeds. Are you voting for th...
MEDIA RELEASE: Multicultural representation the big winner in local government elections
October 19, 2016Poliversity congratulates all citizens from multicultural backgrounds nominating for the 2016 local government elections in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria. As an independent organisation affiliate...
MEDIA RELEASE: Labor Shadow Ministry expands focus on multiculturalism
July 28, 2016Leader of the Opposition and federal Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Bill Shorten MP has renewed and expanded the ALP’s focus on multiculturalism with the announcement of one Shadow Ministe...
MEDIA RELEASE: Labor embraces multicultural representation
June 30, 2016Poliversity congratulates the Hon Bill Shorten MP for leading a federal Labor team that represents the multicultural make up of Australia in the 2016 federal election. Australia has become one of the ...