Executive Committee


The Director chairs an Executive Committee consisting of five to seven academic staff drawn from the membership. Executive Committee members are selected following an open nomination process. To maintain breadth across disciplines, not more than two members of the Executive Committee are drawn from a single Faculty and not more than one from a single School/Discipline. Membership also provides coverage of the sub-regions of Southeast Asia. The Executive Committee is appointed by the Provost on the recommendation of the Director, and will serve a three-year term unless otherwise indicated by the Provost. Incidental vacancies will be filled by direct appointment for the remainder of the Executive Committee’s current term.

The Executive Committee meets on average five times per year to provide advice and make recommendations to the Director on the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre's:

  • Strategic directions, outcomes and priorities;
  • Annual operating and action plans;
  • Allocation of internal grants;
  • Performance against strategic and operating KPIs and outcomes.

In addition, each member of the Executive Committee takes special responsibility for one of five areas of operation (community outreach; curriculum; policy and regional outreach; research; research training). In this capacity, they advise on, but also contribute to, Southeast Asia-related activities in their designated area.

Community Outreach Adviser

Dr Sandra Seno-Alday
The University of Sydney Business School

Dr Sandra Seno-Alday has research and teaching interests in international business, risk and performance. For more than 10 years, she was a consultant for a variety of medium to large organisations from a broad spectrum of industries, providing strategic international business development and organisation development solutions particularly in Southeast Asia. Notably, she has served as a research and business development consultant to public private partnerships and government agencies. She is an active member of the Society for Risk Analysis, and is currently a Councillor of the Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the Society.

Curriculum Adviser

Associate Professor Russell Bush
Faculty of Veterinary Science

In addition to lecturing in applied livestock production (sheep and cattle) and coordinating the professional experience program for the BAnVetBioSc degree, Assoc Prof Bush is the Sub-Dean responsible for the direction and implementation of the BAnVetBioSc degree.His research interests encompass applied health and production research internationally and locally. Assoc Prof Bush is involved in advancing productivity and profitability, through promoting improved feeding management and general husbandry for beef (Cambodia, Lao PDR) and dairy (Pakistan, China) cattle. He is the current Federal president of the Australian Society of Animal Production (ASAP).

Regional and Policy Engagement Advisers

Professor David Guest
Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

David Guest graduated with a BScAgr in 1977 and a PhD in 1983, both from the Faculty of Agriculture. He enjoyed 20 years at the School of Botany at The University of Melbourne before returning to The University of Sydney as Professor of Horticultural Science, then Plant Pathology, in 2004. His research is driven by a fascination with the complex interactions between plants and other organisms, in particular how plants recognise and respond to potential pathogens. His research aims to discover ways to apply this knowledge to help farmers, especially in tropical countries where disease losses are highest. He has supervised 28 postgraduate research students, published over 100 books, chapters and peer-reviewed articles and been awarded over $7 million in research funding. He is a frequent Keynote or Plenary speaker at national and international conferences, is a Fellow of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and President of the Asian Association of Societies for Plant Pathology.

Professor Kirsty Foster
Sydney Medical School

Associate Professor Kirsty Foster is a general practitioner (trained in Edinburgh, UK) who specialises in medical education and global health. Following a two-decade career as a GP, including as Managing Partner of a large academic general practice in Edinburgh, she migrated to Australia and commenced a career in medical education. As Head of the Office of Global Health at Sydney Medical School, she provides academic leadership and helps drive the internationalisation of the school’s health research, learning and teaching programs. Associate Professor Foster has led major international initiatives in medical education, including a World Bank-funded project to improve perinatal care in Macedonia. She was Team Leader of an AusAid-funded project in remote Vietnam, to improve maternal and child health and health literacy through education, and headed a University of Sydney delegation to build clinical teaching capacity at two medical schools in Ghana.

Research Advisers

Professor Simon Butt
Sydney Law School

Simon is currently an Associate Director of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney. Prior to joining the faculty as Senior Lecturer, Simon worked as a consultant on the Indonesian legal system to the Australian government, the private sector and international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). He has taught in over 70 law courses in Indonesia on a diverse range of topics, including intellectual property, Indonesian criminal law, Indonesian terrorism law and legislative drafting. He is fluent in Indonesian.

Research Training Adviser

Dr Damien Field
Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

Dr Damien Field is a Senior Lecturer of Global Soil Security and Soil Science Education, as well as the current IUSS Commission 4.4 Chair for Soil Science Education and Public Awareness. He has been a member and chair of several Faculty and University committees, developing policy and guidelines supporting postgraduate research and research training. In addition to his regular field teaching schools he leads in Laos, Damien’s research in the SE Asia region focuses on improving soil function affecting food, water and energy security and building capacity to support improved farming systems.