Our people

Diaspora Action Australia is made up of various teams including the Board, Operational Team and volunteers.

Organisational Structure

The Team


Operational Team

The Operational Team is made up of paid and unpaid staff who manage Diaspora Action Australia’s day-to-day operations:

Executive Director: Denise Cauchi

Volunteer Coordinator Dani Santa Cruz

Community Coordinator Lisa Vettori

Operations Manager Neha Nambiar

Communications Coordinator Michael Liddell

Resource Mobilisation Team Coordinator: Sean Hewett


The Board

The Board is the governing body of Diaspora Action Australia, made up of seven elected members.

Chair Jez Hunghanfoo

Deputy Chair Hala Abdelnour

Secretary Joe Selvaretnam

Treasurer Jamie Han Chu

Member Nuran Higgins



Our dedicated volunteers work in the following teams: Communications, Community Engagement,  IT & Office Management and Resource Mobilisation.

The Board of DAA

Denise Cauchi

Director, Diaspora Action Australia

Denise Cauchi is the Director and founder of Diaspora Action Australia.

Denise is a human rights and development advocate and practitioner, with a particular focus on armed conflict. She has worked in protective accompaniment in Colombia with Peace Brigades International, and as human rights researcher with a Colombian women’s NGO. She has also held positions with Oxfam Australia and the Human Rights Alliance of Australia.

Denise is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Council for International Development and the International Council of Peace Brigades International. She is a Trustee of Live and Learn Environmental Education.

She has been a human-rights activist for over 25 years, in Australia, Spain, Timor-Leste and India.

Denise has a Master of Development Studies (University of Melbourne).

Before all this, she was a journalist.

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Jez Hunghanfoo


Jez’s background reaches across the NGO and Arts sectors, with a particular focus on communications, marketing and fundraising. He currently works at Oxfam Australia, having worked for 7 years in various leadership positions across the agency. In his roles at Oxfam, he has had a particular focus on donors and volunteers, and works closely with staff and leadership across the agency in Australia and internationally. Jez also regularly speaks at public events and with media on Oxfam activities and events. Prior to joining Oxfam, Jez held marketing and management roles at Arts Hub Australia and Village Cinemas Australia.

Outside of work, Jez maintains his involvement in the arts and with volunteering in various capacities.

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Joe Selvaretnam


Joe has 18 years experience working in the not for profit sector at the community, national and international levels, in the Consumer Movement and later in HIV/AIDS. He was Head of Programs with a peak Malaysian HIV/AIDS organisation for five years, acting as a conduit between government and civil society providing financial, program development and management, capacity building and advocacy skills, knowledge and support. Joe currently works with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s office, a role he has occupied since coming to Australia in 2009. He holds a Masters in International Politics (Peace Studies) from UK and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the UK.

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Jamie Han Chu


Jamie is a finance professional with many years of experience in commercial, government and not for profit organisations.  Jamie is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and has a Masters of International Development.  Her experience ranges across many countries and continents including Australia, the United Kingdom, Africa and Asia.  In 2011 she helped establish her own not for profit organisation called FEED which supports food, environment and economic issues in Nepal.  Jamie is a strong advocate for community engagement and is committed to social rights and equity.

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Hala Abdelnour MAICD

(BSc (Psych), BA, BSW)

Hala is the Director of Global Echo Consultants Pty Ltd and a Vincent Fairfax Fellow since 2008.  Her career interest is in the areas of international relations, leadership and community empowerment. She aims to provide quality and excellence in service delivery and to achieve greater global equality among diverse populations. This includes developing and maintaining strong relationships with various communities and agencies. Hala is well travelled, multi-skilled and multilingual with a love for creativity and innovation. She is passionate about social issues that involve respect for our planet and all living things.

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Andrew Hewett


Andrew is a PH.D candidate in international relations at LaTrobe University and works as a sessional university lecturer.

Description: https://ci6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/RnNZfQn2o2xpggJQqefCOervMbPIci5mujDPJnvl43kv6Rtxjyh5gHN_JKVzeU-aaGz3pePFgxfoAAtZJZNx8mveVTc-11j98EfuAJVcumUenA=s0-d-e1-ft#https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifHe worked at Oxfam Australia for nearly 22 years, including over 11 years as Executive Director (CEO) finishing up at the end of 2012. 

He visited Oxfam programs across the world, including in Africa, South Asia, the Pacific, Central America, South East Asia as welll as Aboriginal Australia.

Andrew has extensive international advocacy experience, was a member of the World Bank-NGO Committee for four years and has participated in and observed numerous international conferences, including those of the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank. 

Andrew was a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak council of non-government international development agencies, for over 10 years. He was also Co-Chair of the Make Poverty History Campaign and was a member of the BHP Billiton Forum for Corporate Responsibility for more than a decade.

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