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Noel Pearson

Noel Pearson

Indigenous Australian lawyer, land rights activist and Director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership

Noel Pearson is an Indigenous Australian lawyer, land rights activist and Director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, an organisation promoting the economic and social development of Cape York in far north Queensland.

He has a degree in History and Law from Sydney University. His History thesis, based on his home community Hope Vale, has been published in “Maps Dreams History”, by the History Department of the University of Sydney.

Noel has been strongly involved in campaigning for the rights of Cape York Aboriginal people and played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Cape York Land Council in 1990. He also worked on both Native title cases including the historic WIK decision. The resulting High Court decision is recognised as one of the most important Native Title cases in Australian History.

Pearson was elected Chairman of the Cape York Land Council from 1996-1997 before resigning. He still acts for the Land Council in an advisory capacity from time to time. Today, he works in a voluntary capacity as a Team Leader with Cape York Partnerships a project negotiated between the Queensland government and Aboriginal Leaders of Cape York to plan and implement projects centred on a reform agenda for Cape communities.

Sandra Harding

Professor Sandra Harding, BSc (Hons) ANU, MPubAdmin UQ, PhD NCSU, HonDoc JIU, FACE, FQA, FAICD, FAIM

Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia

Professor Sandra Harding took up her appointment as Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in January 2007. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Townsville, Cairns and Singapore.

Educated at the Australian National University, The University of Queensland (Australia) and North Carolina State University (USA), Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. An economic sociologist by training, her areas of enduring academic interest include work, organisation and markets and how they work. She also has a keen interest in public policy in two areas: education policy and related areas; the global Tropics, northern Australia and economic development. In addition, she has undertaken a wide variety of senior university-aligned roles as well as memberships/directorships of a variety of local, national and international Boards and Councils.

Current roles include: Commissioner, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Project Convener, State of the Tropics project; Director, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation; Council Member, the Australian Institute of Marine Science; Councillor, Queensland Futures Institute; Co-Vice Chair, the New Colombo Plan Reference Group; Member Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL Club; Expert Working Group advising Australia’s Chief Scientist on the development of a National Research Infrastructure Roadmap; Director of Townsville Enterprise and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies); and a Governor of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

Previous external roles include: Chair, Universities Australia; Member, the Australia-China Council Board; Director, Regional Australia Institute; Member, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Advisory Board; Member, Expert Working Group advising Dr Ian Watt AO on the Government’s Review of Research Policy and Funding, Northern Australia Advisory Group (advising then Prime Minister Abbott); Member, International Education and Training Advisory Council Queensland; Member, Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Board; Commissioner, Queensland Independent Commission of Audit (March 2012- February 2013); Australia’s representative on the University Grants Commission for the University of the South Pacific; Chair of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council; Member of the HIH Assessment Review Panel; Board member, Skills Queensland; Board member of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council; Chairman of Brisbane Marketing Pty Ltd; Director of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation; Director of the Global Foundation for Management Education Ltd (Montreal); Chair, Innovative Research Universities (an alliance of seven Australian universities: Charles Darwin, Griffith, La Trobe, Flinders, Murdoch, Newcastle and James Cook universities); Inaugural President of the Australian Business Deans Council; Vice-President of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance.

In 2003, Professor Harding was recognised as North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna for that year. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate for services to education from Japan’s Josai International University and in 2012, she was recognized as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) and was named the ACE 2012 Queensland Medallist “… in recognition of her leadership of education in the tropics that has seen a new academic emphasis on life and the people of the tropics.”
Professor Harding is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Duncan Murray

Duncan Murray

CEO of the Cape York Partnership

Duncan Murray is a former investment banker and lawyer, but for the majority of his career has been a CEO and COO lead operator in the public and private sectors, as well as the private equity and not-for-profit industry. He has occupied senior executive roles for more than a decade. He started his career in 1994 with Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks (now Allens) before joining Centaurus Corporate Finance (subsequently Merrill Lynch) in 1996. He has held various senior executive roles, including CEO and COO with EyeCorp, Platinum Media, Belong and Photon Group, Full Circle Holdings and Otway Partners and Otway Logistics.
Duncan was the inaugural Chairman of the Amy Gillett Foundation (2006-2013), and recently retired as a Director. He is the Deputy Chairman of Cycling Australia.

Farwiza Farhan

Farwiza Farhan

Grassroots environmental activist

Farwiza Farhan is an environmental activist based in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia. She is the Chairperson of Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh Foundation (Yayasan HAkA), an organization working to conserve, protect and restore the Leuser Ecosystem, in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Farwiza obtained her Master’s degree in Environmental Management from University of Queensland, Australia. She is currently listed as PhD candidate in Radboud Universitiet Nijmegen in The Netherlands. In addition to pursuing an academic career, Farwiza is also actively involved in pushing for stronger protection for the Leuser Ecosystem through her activism work. She co-founded a local NGO called Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh together with her colleagues and they have been the driving force behind a number of local environmental campaign.

In 2016, Farwiza receives Whitley Award for her grassroots activism work and in 2017 she was selected as one of Future for Nature Award winner. She was also featured in Leonardo DiCaprio latest climate change documentary ‘Before the Flood’.

Christine Padoch

Christine Padoch

Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan

Until the end of 2016, Christine Padoch was the Research Director for Forests and Human Well-being at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia.

An anthropologist by training, she spent more than 40 years carrying out research on smallholder patterns of forest use and management, agriculture, and agroforestry in the humid tropics, principally in Amazonia and Southeast Asia. Christine Padoch came to CIFOR from the New York Botanical Garden where she held the position of the Matthew Calbraith Perry Curator of Economic Botany. She is the author or editor of a dozen books and approximately 100 scientific articles. Christine Padoch has served as a scientific advisor to many international projects and has been a member of the boards of several international research institutions, including the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research (IPAM), and the Earth Innovation Institute (EII). She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University

The speaker information on this website is correct at the time of providing, however, the organisers reserve the right to change the information where necessary without notice.


Platinum Sponsor

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Gold Partner


Silver Partner

Forest and Wood Products Australia


Conference Sponsor

OneFortyOne Plantations

Conference Dinner

Forestry Corporation

Name Badge/Lanyard Partner

Margules Groome

Welcome Reception Partner

PF Olsen Australia

Session Sponsor

Cape York Partnership

Vic Forests

Forestry SA

Hurford Hardwood


African Mahogany (Australia)

Jack Westoby Fund


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