We have convened an exciting line-up of speakers to offer diverse perspectives to our conference theme of ‘Leadership for Inclusive Development’. These voices will challenge and inspire you to re-think how you understand, support and participate in leadership for social change.

Click here to download the RDI Conference Delegate Handbook.

Conference Dinner Speaker - Nyadol Nyuon Nyadol Nyuon Speaker Melbourne

Nyadol Nyuon is a lawyer, community advocate, writer, and accomplished public speaker. She holds a bachelor degree in Arts from Victoria University and a law degree from the University of Melbourne.

Nyadol was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. In 2005, at the age of eighteen, she moved to Australia as a refugee.

Since then, Nyadol has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne. She now works as a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Nyadol is a vocal advocate for human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of refugees and those seeking asylum. She has worked and volunteered extensively in these areas with a range of organisations.

Nyadol is also a regular media commentator in these areas, having appeared on ABC’s The Drum, as a panellist on Q&A and contributing to The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper, to name just a few.

In both 2011 and 2014, Nyadol was nominated as one of the hundred most influential African Australians. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Future Justice Prize.

In 2018 her efforts to combat racism were widely recognised, with achievements including the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops With Me Award. The prestigious award was in recognition of her advocacy and activism on behalf of the Australian-African and Melbourne’s South Sudanese communities. Nyadol also received the Harmony Alliance Award for significant contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women, and was a co-winner of the Tim McCoy Prize for her advocacy on behalf of the South Sudanese Community. She also received the Afro-Australian Student Organisation‘s Unsung Hero Award.


Conference Dinner  Performer - Solli Raphael 

profile pic 2019

At 12 years of age, Solli Raphael was crowned the youngest ever Australian Poetry Slam champion in an all-adult annual competition held at the Sydney Opera House in 2017. Having since performed on stages such as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in front of a live audience of 35,000 people and at TEDxSydney, and on TV shows such as The Project, ABC Me and ABC Breakfast, Solli believes that words can empower their audience.

Now 14, Solli continues to use the platforms of performing and writing to tackle current social issues – big and small, and enjoys writing powerful and emotive poetry based on the world around him in the hope to create positive change. Successfully publishing his first book, Limelight, with a second book on the way, Solli would like to encourage his generation to participate in conversations about issues that affect their lives and their future.

Facebook: @solliraphael       Instagram: @solli_raphael      


Hon Fiame Naomi Mata'afa  Fiame

Hon Fiame Naomi Mata'afa is a Samoan High Chief and a senior member of Cabinet in the Samoan Government. Elected into Parliament for the first time in 1985 for the constituency of Lotofaga, she is one of the longest standing Members of Parliament.

She has been a Cabinet Minister since 1991 serving as Minister of Education (1991-2006), Minister for Women, Community and Social Development (2006-2011), Minister for Justice and Courts Administration & Film Censorship and Electoral Commission (2011-2016) and is now the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Environment and Natural Resources (2016- 2021). She is a member of the Human Rights Protection Party.

Fiame has represented Samoa and the Pacific region on the executive boards of UNESCO, The Commonwealth of Learning and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Women’s Committee. She completed in 2012 a six year term as Pro Chancellor and Chairperson of the University of the South Pacific.

Fiame is a strong advocate for women’s equality. She is the President of the Samoa National Council of Women, and the Women in Leadership Advocates (WinLA-a public sector women leaders group).


Srilatha Batliwala Srilatha smaller

Srilatha Batliwala is Senior Advisor, Knowledge Building and Feminist Leadership with CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action), an international organisation that works at the intersection of gender, sexuality and human rights, and Senior Associate, Gender at Work, a global network of gender experts supporting organisations to build cultures of equality and inclusion. Her work focuses on building new knowledge from practice, especially in the areas of women’s rights, empowerment, and transformative feminist leadership. She has also designed and taught at CREA’s leadership building institutes for feminist activists in South Asia, East Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

Srilatha worked from 2008 – 2016 as scholar Associate in AWID (Association for Women's Rights in Development), as Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations (2000 – 2007), and Civil Society Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, New York (1997-2000). Up to the mid-90s, she was involved for over twenty years in grassroots work in India.

Srilatha has written and published extensively on a range of women’s issues, and is best known for her work on women’s empowerment.  Her most recent publication is a collection of her writings of the past twenty years: “Engaging with Empowerment – An Intellectual and Experiential Journey” (Women Unlimited, 2014, and eBook version 2015).

Srilatha commutes between homes in Bangalore and the Nilgiri Hills of South India, and is actively involved with her four grandchildren! 


Dan Honig Dan Honig smaller

Dan Honig is an assistant professor of international development at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a holder of a current (2018-2019) Hopkins Catalyst grant. His research focuses on the relationship between organisational structure, management practice, and performance in developing country governments and organisations that provide foreign aid.

Previously, Dan has had roles including: special assistant, then advisor, to successive Ministers of Finance (Liberia); leading a local non-profit focused on helping post-conflict youth realise the power of their own ideas (East Timor); and working for a number of local and international NGOs.

Dan’s latest book, Navigation by Judgment: Why and When Top Down Management of Foreign Aid Doesn't Work, challenges current development paradigms which rely on a narrow conception of results measurement and proposes a new practice of leadership which enables frontline workers to apply creativity and problem-solving skills in complex environments.

Barbra Thomas  Barbra3

Barbra Thomas works with the Institute for Human Security and Social Change, at La Trobe University, and is based in Papua New Guinea as their PNG Projects Coordinator supporting the PNG– Australia Governance Partnership.  Prior to her role with the Institute, she served as the Executive Director of The Voice Inc, a local youth development organization based in PNG of which she has been involved in various capacities for the past 11 years supporting its growth from a student led initiative to a fully-fledged organization. She also serves as the Interim Chairperson of the Port Moresby based Young Professionals Network. Barbra is passionate about renewable energy, social justice and politics.