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OUR SPEAKERS

  • The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO

    Australian High Commissioner to India.

    The Hon Barry O’Farrell AOAustralian High Commissioner to India
    • Barry Robert O'Farrell AO  is the current Australia’s High Commissioner to India. He served in the Parliament of New South Wales from 1995 to 2015, including as the State’s 43rd Premier between 2011 and 2014.
    • Australia’s most populous and multicultural State, New South Wales generates a third of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
    • As Premier, Mr O’Farrell initiated and led annual trade missions to India to promote economic, cultural and social links between New South Wales and the states of India. He has also served as NSW’s Special Envoy for India and has made a significant contribution as the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council Board.
    • Mr O’Farrell has a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, Canberra. Born in Melbourne, Mr O’Farrell grew up in Darwin. He has also served as NSW’s Special Envoy for India and has made a significant contribution as the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council Board.
  • Tara Cavanagh

    Minister – Counsellor Home AffairsAustralian High Commission, New Delhi.

    Tara CavanaghMinister – Counsellor Home AffairsAustralian High Commission, New Delhi.
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  • Brett Galt-Smith

    Director South Asia Desk, Canberra and Counsellor (Education and Research) New Delhi.Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

    Brett Galt-SmithDirector South Asia Desk, Canberra and Counsellor (Education and Research) New Delhi.Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
    • Brett Galt-Smith is with the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). He took up the role of Counsellor (Education and Research) for South Asia in December 2019, based at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi. He is currently back at DESE in Canberra during the Covid-19 pandemic where he also manages the South Asia Desk in addition to his Counsellor role.
    • Prior to his appointment as Counsellor, Brett was Director of Policy and Legislation in International Group at the Department of Education in Canberra. He managed the implementation of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018, the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students(ELICOS) Standards 2018, the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Regulations 2019 and drafting changes to the ESOS Act 2000. Brett was instrumental in policy development and new approaches to the management of education agents, including the recent agent transparency approach.
    • Brett has worked in a diverse range of areas including international education policy and regulation, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, international and Commonwealth/state relations, the repatriation of Indigenous Australian human remains from overseas collecting institutions and was the Research Director of the Strehlow Research Centre in Alice Springs from 1998-2003.
  • Stuart M Rees

    Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, South AsiaAustralian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)Australian High Commission, New Delhi.

    Stuart M ReesSenior Trade and Investment Commissioner, South AsiaAustralian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)Australian High Commission, New Delhi.
    • Stuart Rees is Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for Austrade. He heads the Australian government’s Education promotion, Investment, Defence and Advanced Technology teams across South Asia.
    • Stuart was appointed to India in August 2019 and managed the Australia India Business Exchange program delivered in February this year. He was previously Trade Commissioner in Thailand and undertaken shorter postings in India and Papua New Guinea. He is a professional in supporting the growth of multinational and SME exporters from Australia across a diverse range of sectors including Education, with deep ASEAN experience.
    • He has been with Austrade for 13 years, joining after 15 years in finance and agribusiness. He grew up in rural Australia, in his early youth spent some time as a Jackaroo and is a graduate of Marcus Oldham College – Australia’s leading private agricultural tertiary institution.
    • He is currently ‘marooned in Australia during COVID-19 and hopes to be back in India soon!
  • H.E.Peter Budd

    Australian Ambassador to Nepal

    H.E.Peter BuddAustralian Ambassador to Nepal
    • Mr Peter Budd is the current Australian Ambassador to Nepal. Mr Budd is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He has served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission in Baghdad, Pretoria and Port Vila. In Canberra, Mr Budd was most recently Director, Property Tender Unit and Estate Section. He has also served as Director, Pacific Regional Section and Director, Fiji Taskforce. Mr Budd holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the University of Melbourne.
  • Dr John Wellard

    Policy Director - International Universities Australia.

    Dr John WellardPolicy Director - International Universities Australia.
    • Dr John Wellard is Policy Director International at Universities Australia. In this role he has responsibility for developing and coordinating policy and services in relation to the Australian university sector’s participation in international engagement. Prior to this John was the Counsellor for the Australian National University at the Embassy of Australian Washington D.C. where he was responsible for fostering new opportunities and supporting existing relationships between ANU, North American universities and other institutions, policy makers and opinion leaders. John has held senior administrative positions within the University sector and has served time as a policy advisor in the Australian Government and held academic positions in the United Kingdom and Germany.
  • Vicki Thomson

    Chief Executive
    The Group of Eight (Go8)

    Vicki Thomson Chief Executive
    The Group of Eight (Go8)
    • Vicki Thomson has worked in Australia’s university sector for almost two decades championing its role as integral to the success of our nation and its people. She strongly believes that you don’t have to have gone to university to benefit from all that a university has to offer. She is currently the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight Universities and prior to this role she was Executive Director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN).
    • Ms Thomson's diverse background covers print and electronic journalism, politics and issues management. She has an extensive media, political and policy background and was Chief of Staff to a South Australian Premier. She is a Board member of the European Australian Business Council, a member of the New Colombo Plan Reference Group and a former Board member of the Australia-China Council.
    • Ms Thomson has significant experience and relationships with China. From the mid 1990s when she was first involved through her Government positions, she assisted the management of trade, industry and energy negotiations over a number of years. She has been awarded the prestigious Insignia of the Knights in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government for her continuing services to the growth of successful education relationships and programs between France and Australia. .
    • She is also a member of MS Research Australia’s Leadership Council. She has extensive experience in building relationships between business, industry and universities, and supporting increased access to university for people from all backgrounds.
    • In 2016 she was named in The Australian Newspaper’s Top 30 most influential people in Higher Education. In 2018 and again in 2019, the Australian Financial Review named her as the second most powerful person in Australia's higher education sector.
  • Phil Honeywood

    CEO, International Education Association of Australia

    Phil HoneywoodCEO, International Education Association of Australia.
    • Phil is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA). He was a Member of the Victorian State Parliament, Australia, for 18 years (1988–2006). During this period Phil served as the Victorian Minister for Tertiary Education, Training and Multicultural Affairs.
    • He was also Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2002–2006. Since retiring from full-time politics in 2006, Phil was Marketing Director and CEO at Stott’s Business College and Cambridge International College in Melbourne.
    • Phil also served two terms on the Governing Council of Swinburne University of Technology. Phil is Convener of the National Council for International Education and a member of the Higher Education Standards Panel, New Colombo Plan Steering Committee and the Education Visa Consultative Committee.
    • He is also a volunteer adviser to the Bennelong Philanthropic Foundation. With experience in senior management positions, in both the Australian public and private sectors, Phil brings a unique background and perspective to international education. Phil has an Honours degree from the Australian National University in Political Science and Japanese.
  • Maheshwer Peri

    Founder & Chairman, CAREERS 360, India

    Maheshwer PeriFounder & Chairman, CAREERS 360, India
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  • Surendra Tipparaju

    Director & Principal AI Architect LeadMicrosoft

    Surendra TipparajuDirector & Principal AI Architect LeadMicrosoft
    • Surendra Tipparaju is Lead of Architecture for Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Microsoft India playing a key role in developing products and solutions for a wide range of projects worldwide. His core passion is to bring technology and people by engaging actively in various industry forums, to play an advisory role for startups and to support social activities. He writes technology articles and speaks in many industry forums in AI, management and product development. He is Vice Chair for IEEE, Technology and Engineering Management (TEMS), Hyderabad chapter. His goal is to explore and enable AI & Technology solutions in every possible scenario to enhance human condition. With deep love for India he is passionate to help children in developing technical and social skills to be future leaders and entrepreneurs.
    • Surender is an Engineer from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani , and has done his Post Graduation in Business Management from Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  • Peter Mackey

    Director - International TradeTrade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts,New South Wales Government.

    Peter Mackey Director - International TradeTrade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts,New South Wales Government.
    • Peter Mackey joined the NSW Government in October 2014 after seven years with Austrade. Peter was posted as Trade Commissioner to Hanoi in 2010 and later to Singapore. During this time he also held a regional role, as Education Commissioner, ASEAN, leading Austrade’s regional education team across South East Asia. Over the past 20 years, Peter has worked primarily in the education and training, ICT and government sectors. In his current role Peter oversees the NSW Government’s international education strategy through Study NSW as well as leading the Trade team based in Sydney and the broader TradeStart network around regional NSW.
  • Gitesh Agarwal

    Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner, India,Trade and Investment Queensland

    Gitesh Agarwal Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner, India,Trade and Investment Queensland
    • Gitesh Agarwal is the Trade & Investment Commissioner of Queensland in India and represents a A$10 billion trade relationship. A senior leader, influencer with 22 years of experience with the Australian Government and Indian Private sector, Gitesh has had leadership roles in bilateral trade, international alliances, business & corporate strategy, marketing and P&L management.
    • Gitesh delivers a "Queensland Narrative" in India, the highlight of which has been, Queensland's first ever India strategy 2018-23, a first for Queensland. A people person and creative solution finder at heart, Gitesh carries deep knowledge of industries in both countries, from Agribusiness, Retail; Food/wine, Education; Environment, Innovation, manufacturing, entertainment, automotive, and Investment. In his corporate sector role, he has been recognised as India's "Top 100 Chief Marketing Officer" twice in 3 years.
  • Andrew Houey

    Director, International Marketing Study Adelaide.

    Andrew Houey Director, International Marketing Study Adelaide.
    • Andrew Houey is the Director, International Marketing with StudyAdelaide who promote Adelaide, South Australia as a destination of choice for international students. Prior to joining the organisation, he was Director of Sales & Marketing with AccorHotels and has an extensive background in the tourism and hospitality sector.
    • Andrew leads the international marketing team, who develop and execute a range of campaigns both digitally and across key markets.
  • Phil Payne

    Chief Executive Officer, Study Perth

    Phil PayneCEO, Study Perth
    • Phil is the Chief Executive Officer of Study Perth. Phil leads a team which, in collaboration with government, educational institutions and other stakeholders, provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in Western Australia and overseas.
    • Prior to joining StudyPerth, Phil was employed by Murdoch University as the Director of External Engagement, where he managed a team of over 50 staff who were responsible for the recruitment and admission of students, both international and domestic.
    • From 2012 to 2014, Phil was the Vice President of Educational Partnerships at Murdoch University. In this role, he was responsible for transnational partnerships in Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai and the development and management of pathways and partnerships. In 2012, Phil was also appointed as the inaugural Chair of Murdoch Singapore, a subsidiary of Murdoch University and remained a Director of the Board until 2017.
    • Phil’s previous roles at Murdoch University included Pro Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the Peel Campus and Chief Executive Officer of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Phil began his career in healthcare, in the UK then Australia, and has managed hospitals and a Medical School.
  • Michelle Wade

    Commissioner – South Asia, Global Victoria

    Michelle WadeCommissioner – South Asia, Global Victoria
    • Michelle Wade is a highly experienced international trade official and has held senior diplomatic postings for the Australian government in Italy, Malaysia and Spain. She manages Victorian government operations and promotion of trade and investment across South Asia. Her territory includes four of Victoria’s top ten education markets being India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. She is also responsible for the in-market delivery of Victoria’s India Strategy, a significant program of engagement across business, education, arts, tourism, health, sports and start-ups.
    • Michelle commenced her current role in Bangalore in September 2017. Immediately prior to this, Michelle managed Queensland’s global network and Business and Skilled Migration program, comprising over 100 staff across 12 international locations.
    • Michelle's early career was in classical music management with Sydney Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. Until leaving for Bangalore, Michelle was on the board of Musica Viva Australia, one of Australia's major performing arts organisations and Australia's leading provider of music education into Australian schools.Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts from University of Queensland and Postgraduate qualifications in Applied Law (UQ) and Business Communications (QUT) and speaks Spanish and Italian.
  • Lakshmi Iyer

    Executive Director & Head Of Education Sannam S4.

    Lakshmi Iyer Executive Director & Head Of Education Sannam S4
    • Lakshmi Iyer is the Executive Director of Education at Sannam S4. Ms. Iyer has been working in the education industry for over 17 years now and brings senior managerial experience to the table. Her passion for the sector is immense and she has been an active observer and commentator about the industry. Ms. Iyer has been working with Sannam S4 since 2011.
    • Prior to working with Sannam S4, Ms. Iyer was associated with Study Overseas Global, a leading education agency. She served in the company for 9 years has been part of the establishment team in Mumbai eventually relocating to New Delhi to run the operations at the Head Quarters.
    • A DFID Scholar with a Masters in International Marketing from the UK, Lakshmi began her career in International Education working in the Student Support Office at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. An extensive background in counselling for multiple countries over 9 years and training and managing scores of counselling staff in her team have helped hone her skills in the sector thus enabling her to support Sannam S4’s education clients successfully.
    • Lakshmi is a sought after speaker at leading higher education conferences such as AIEA, AIEC, BCCIE, NAFSA and NZIEC. She is an avid observer and commentator of the higher education space and runs one of the most respected personal LinkedIn and Twitter channels for news aggregation on higher education.
  • Ly Tran

    Professor and ARC Future Fellow – Deakin University.

    Ly TranProfessor and ARC Future Fellow – Deakin University.
    • Ms Ly Tran is a Professor in the School of Education at Deakin University and an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow.
    • Her research focuses on international education, international students, student mobility, international student graduate employability, Australian students' learning and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region via the New Colombo Plan and staff professional learning in international education. 
    • She also undertakes research on higher education, vocational education and graduate employability in Vietnam and China.
  • Ravneet Pawha

    Deputy Vice President (Global Engagement) and CEO (South Asia) Deakin University.

    Ravneet PawhaDeputy Vice President (Global Engagement) and CEO (South Asia) Deakin University.
    • Ravneet Pawha is currently the Deputy Vice President – Global and CEO (South Asia) of Deakin University Australia. Ravneet was awarded the prestigious Business Leader of the Year at the India Australia Business Council Awards 2018.
    • She has a Master in Education and Training and a Master in Business Administration, a gold medalist in her postgraduate studies. With over 27 years of experience in the International education sector, Ravneet has been instrumental in establishing global collaborations and strategic partnerships. She has developed Australian Education collaborations specifically for Deakin University in India and has contributed to the immense success across the region.
    • She is responsible for establishing holistic engagement across Government, academia, industry and research. She is also responsible for global strategy for Deakin for developing partnerships. The South Asia operations are managed through an office at New Delhi which was established 25 years ago. This is the first ever international ‘University office’ in India of any foreign education provider. She has been instrumental in establishing over 20 strong industry -academic collaborations including the $10 million world class TERI-Deakin Nano-Bio research facility in India.
    • Prior to her current appointment she worked as Chief Executive Officer (South Asia and Middle East) for Education and Training Pty Ltd. She held senior management positions with IDP Education Australia, British Council and Franchise Asia, a US based company where she was responsible to establish and manage the network of offices across India for education and training purposes. She brings with her varied international experience. She is a board member at various national and international associations and forums including the Rajasthan Royals , Confederation of Indian Industry, Australia India Business Council, Indian Sports Council, ANZBA to name a few.
  • Abizer Merchant

    Director (India & Sri Lanka) Macquarie University.

    Abizer Merchant Director (India & Sri Lanka) Macquarie University.
    • Abizer Merchant is a management professional with 15 years' experience in international marketing, business development, corporate relations, strategy and policy development with particular expertise in the South Asia and Middle East region.
    • In June 2014, he was appointed as the Director (India & Sri Lanka) for Macquarie University, Sydney based out of Mumbai, India. In recognition of the University's export success in the Indian market over 5 years (2014-19), the University was awarded the Premier of New South Wales Export Award in the Education & Training category in 2019.
    • Previously Abizer was the Associate Director, International Marketing, at La Trobe University, Melbourne (2005-2014) where he played a lead role in driving the university’s international marketing and recruitment strategy across a range of markets. Abizer has an advanced understanding of international education from a student and education provider perspective
    • He has a Master of Marketing from Monash University, Australia and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Mumbai. His interests lie in the development of new and emerging markets/ segments for international education, internationalisation of Indian academic institutions and edtech.
  • Sagar Bahadur

    Principal Adviser - Strategic Initiatives (India) The University of Queensland, Australia.

    Sagar BahadurPrincipal Adviser - Strategic Initiatives (India) The University of Queensland, Australia.
    • Sagar Bahadur is responsible for the overall strategic direction of The University of Queensland’s India operations, which encompasses business expansion, brand communication and stakeholder management.
    • He has been with UQ for approx.1.5 years during which, UQ’s presence in India has grown by manifolds. Sagar has spent over 11 years in assisting educational institutions of all types to address strategic issues such as market entry & penetration, international expansion and has delivered successful TNE projects across geographies.
    • Before UQ, he was associated with the Amity Education Group for 8 years as Director - International Enrolment & Dy. Director - International Business and was instrumental in their international expansion in various geographies. He also headed the International Marketing and Recruitment domain for Amity’s global campuses.
    • Sagar is currently pursuing the flagship Post Graduate Program from UCLA Anderson majoring in Strategy & Finance and holds post-graduate qualifications from IIM Calcutta and Grenoble Graduate School of Business. He is also an accredited associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.
    • He is the proud recipient of the Phillip Kotler Award 2020 (education domain) at the 9th World Marketing Summit and represents international education domain at the Young Leaders Council of AIMA. 
  • Rupesh Singh

    CEO, Education Center of Australia

    Rupesh SinghCEO, Education Center of Australi
    • Rupesh Singh is the founder and Group CEO of the award-winning Education Centre of Australia (ECA) with previous commercial success in sectors including Corporate Development, Operations, Marketing and Sales, Banking and Finance, and Project Management. He has forged an enviable reputation for a deep understanding of the education market and a strong respect for his staff, which he regards as family. “Having to make my way as an international student in my early years in Australia gave me an abiding passion for being able to change lives through education as the great enabler in life. It has been gratifying to build a global business that offers education products across the full value chain, from English courses, Certificate to Masters programs, university partnerships with Victoria University and Swinburne University, internships and online study.”
    • Prior to starting his own educational institution, Rupesh worked with Fortune 500 and multi-national corporations, including Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Essar Steel Ltd, and Global IT Australia Pty Ltd. In 2001, with a small task force, he successfully established an IT company which provided solutions to small and large enterprises, and the company eventually became a Gold Partner of Microsoft and worked with multinational IT companies.
    • Since 2006, Rupesh has been running a number of educational institutions, including Asia Pacific International College (APIC). His parent company, Education Centre of Australia (ECA), has expanded into the international education market, setting up offices in India and The Philippines, with plans for further expansion in Europe. The company also has an established network of agents in more than 30 countries.

3 Days of presentations, insights and workshops from Australian education experts and policy makers

Why you should attend

AAERI Events (2016 to 2019) Past Glimpses

  • Australian Education Minister
    Hon. Simon Birmingham on AAERI's 20 years (1996)

  • Past Events - AAERI (2016 to 2019)

  • Promoting Self-Regulation among Representatives of Australian Universities

Association of Australian Education Representatives in India

The Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI) was formed in October 1996 to assure the integrity and credibility of agents who are recruiting students on behalf of Australian education and training institutions.
The establishment of AAERI was an initiative of Australian Education International (AEI) although AAERI is an independent organisation, registered under the Societies Registration Act of India.

AAERI members agree to abide by a Code of Ethical Practices (COEP) which stipulates that they must provide services to students in a manner which reflects the established practices of Australian education and training institutions and which safeguards the interests of prospective students on the other.

AAERI's Code of Ethics is based on the Australian Governments's Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) which makes Australian education institutions accountable for the activities of their overseas agents which stipulates that they must provide services to students in a manner which reflects the established practices of Australian education and training institutions and which safeguards the interests of prospective students on the other. AAERI's Code of Ethics is based on the Australian Governments’ Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) which makes Australian education institutions accountable for the activities of their overseas agents.

AAERI Executives

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    Ravi L Singh

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    Bubbly Johar

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    Rupesh Patel

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    Nishidhar Borra

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    Rahul Gandhi

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    Balaji Govindchari

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    Nirmal Chawala

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    Rupesh Duggal

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    Prasanna Archarya

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    Kishore Beengi

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    Sonya Singh

    AAERI Australian Chapter
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    Dwiraj Sharma

    AAERI Nepal Chapter

Our Sponsor

Sponsor

The nib Group is a trusted international health partner, empowering our members to make better decisions and improve health outcomes through greater accessibility to affordable health services and information. nib provides health and medical insurance to over 1.6 million Australian and New Zealand residents. We also provide health insurance to more than 190,000 international students and workers in Australia.

Nib’s Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is 100% student visa compliant and winner of the Canstar’s Outstanding Value Award in 2019 and 2020. International students covered by nib OSHC have access to Australia’s world class health facilities and services, mobile app for 24/7 support to manage their policy, make a claim and search for healthcare providers, and can enjoy everyday savings with the nib Rewards program.

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