Project Team

Danielle Celermajer

Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer
Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer is the Director of the project. With a background in both activism and academia, this project draws on her dual passions for imaginative and rigorous research and action that makes a difference.

Having spent several years as Director of Indigenous Policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Danielle moved to the United States in 1998 to complete her doctoral studies in political theory and international law at Columbia University, where she also taught human rights and ran an international project on religion and human rights. She returned to Australia in 2005 to take up a position in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, where she created the Bachelor of Global Studies, the Masters of Human Rights and won a 1.5 million Euro grant from the European Commission to establish the Masters of Human Rights and Democratization (Asia Pacific program). Through the relationships formed as part of this program with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo and the Kathmandu School of Law, she conceived of and developed the Root Causes of Torture Project, subsequently bringing together the core and expert team. She is author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on human rights and political theory as well as two books Sins of the Nation and The Ritual of Apology, published by Cambridge University Press in 2009 and Power, Judgment and Political Evil, Ashgate, 2010.

Kiran Grewal

Dr Kiran Grewal
Dr Kiran Grewal is the Research Manager for the project. A trained lawyer, Kiran has worked in private practice, the international justice section of Amnesty International and as a trial monitor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone before joining the University of Sydney as a lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies. Kiran received her PhD from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2009 on the topic of French and Australian public discourses on sexual violence, ethnic diversity and constructions of the nation. Since then she has published in the areas of international criminal law, sexual violence, transitional justice, nationalism and women’s rights. She has also conducted extensive fieldwork in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Nepal. She is the author of two forthcoming books, The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights and Ethnicized Gang Rape and Discourses of Gender, Race and Nation both to be published by Ashgate.


Anna Noonan

Anna Noonan
Anna Noonan is the Senior Project Manager of the University of Sydney’s human rights programs, which involves managing the daily operations and full implementation of two major grants, the Enhancing Human Rights Protections and Security in the Asia Pacific project and the Asia Pacific Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation and the Global Human Rights Campus. Anna’s role in the Enhancing Human Rights Protections and Security in the Asia Pacific has also included the translation of multidisciplinary research and a theory of change into an Intervention design and the production of associated project management resources, workshops and publications.

Anna has over 12 years experience in developing and managing complex international development and technical assistance projects in human rights, press freedom, public health, Indigenous rights and wellbeing, and sustainable development from local grass-roots organisations and Australia-based NGOs, to industry leaders from across the Asia Pacific region and international organisations including the International Federation of Journalists, Amnesty International and the World Health Organisation.

Georgie Wheadon

Georgie Wheadon
Georgie Wheadon is a Project Manager who coordinates the administrative and operational elements of the project. Georgie came to the education sector in 2012 after ten years working on social justice and policy projects in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Her previous roles included working as a communications and social policy specialist in a public policy consultancy, the communications coordinator for an independent think tank and the state engagement manager for a national charity.

Georgie holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Sydney and a BA Communications and International Studies from UTS and Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. She has a keen interest in the intersection of social justice issues, human rights and public administration. Georgie has been a Committee of Management member for independent aid and trade watchdog AID/WATCH since 2013.

Melissa McCullough

Melissa McCullough
Melissa McCullough is the Events Manager for the project. She is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney and has been working in the non-profit and government sector for the past eight years. Melissa’s areas of expertise span project management, social research, policy and advocacy, strategic communications, media and public relations, fundraising, partnership development and stakeholder engagement, major event coordination and non-profit organisational development. Career highlights include as Project Coordinator for the Sydney Peace Foundation, Events Manager for the International Peace Research Association, Corporate Relations Manager for Youth Services and Advocacy and Support (YSAS), as well as various contract roles with state and federal Government.

Melissa currently volunteers with the St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol Programme and is on the board of the United Nations Association of Australia Young Professionals. She is passionate about business and human rights, and in 2015 will commence a research degree in the area of sustainable agriculture and peacebuilding in Southern and East Africa.

Paula Gleeson

Paula Gleeson
Paula Gleeson is new to the project and comes to us from Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia. Paula has a public health background and has been living and working in post conflict and resource deprived countries for over 20 years. Most recently Paula came from Cambodia, where she worked and lived, with her family, for five years. Her work has been predominantly with women and children, with a focus on gender, womens rights and sexual and reproductive health. Prior to Cambodia, Paula worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa and South East Asia on the Expanded Programme of Immunisation. Paula has a BA Business and a Master of Public Health and has led development and rights based programmes and projects, including operational and participatory research and evaluations, for international NGOs, national NGOs, the United Nations and bilateral organisations.