Our Staff

Director of Research and Academic Programmes

Haripriya Rangan

Haripriya Rangan trained in architecture and urban planning in India, and holds a doctoral degree from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) in urban and regional development. Haripriya has over 20 years of research and teaching experience in universities in the USA and Australia. She has lectured in Geography at the University of California Berkeley and University of Kentucky, in Urban Planning and Environmental Management at RMIT University, and in Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University.

Haripriya has an excellent international research reputation in the field of political ecology and a strong record in research funding and publication. Her research on forestry and regional development in the Indian Himalayas is considered highly influential and widely cited by political ecologists and scholars working on environmental movements in South Asia. She has won several national competitive research grants, including one from the US National Science Foundation, and three ARC Discovery grants. Haripriya’s current research centres on natural resource and landscape management in South Africa, India and Australia, and environmental history of the Indian Ocean World.

https://haripriyarangan.net/

CEO & Director

Craig Jeffrey

Craig Jeffrey is Director of the Australia India Institute and former Professor of Development Geography at the University of Oxford and Official Fellow of St. John's College. He is a leading authority on South Asian youth and also writes on Indian democracy, educational transformation, globalization, and the 'social revolution' that he sees occuring across India in the Twenty-First Century.
 
Craig has spent a total of five years since 1995 conducting anthropological fieldwork in western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. He is author of numerous journal articles as well as six books, including Timepass: Youth, Class and the Politics of Waiting in India (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Keywords for Modern India (with John Harriss; Oxford University Press, 2014). Oxford University Press have recently commissioned Craig Jeffrey to write A Very Short Introduction to Modern India, part of its prestigious Very Short Introduction series.

Professor Jeffrey is currently leading a large project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on educated unemployed youth in South Asia. Craig Jeffrey was recently elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and, in addition to his academic work, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review and The Conversation.
 
Craig's partner, Jane Dyson, has made a film about their work in India: www.lifelinesfilm.com

 

Executive Chairman

Robert Johanson

Robert Johanson is the Executive Chairman of the Australia India Institute board. He is a consultant at corporate advisory firm Grant Samuel where he has worked since 1993. Robert has 30 years’ experience in corporate finance and investment banking. He is the Chairman of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, Deputy Chancellor at the University of Melbourne and Chairman of the Melbourne University Fund. He is Chairman of the Australia India Institute and of The Conversation, a member of the Takeovers Panel and a director of the Robert Salzer Foundation, an arts foundation. Robert is also a sheep farmer.

Honorary Director, AII @Delhi

Amitabh Mattoo

Professor Amitabh Mattoo is the Honorary Director, AII @Delhi. He concurrently serves as Honorary Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne and Professor at the School of International Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University. Professor Mattoo was the CEO and Inaugural Director of the Australia Institute from 2011-2015.

Professor Mattoo has been the CEO and Director of the Australia India Institute, a Member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India and the National Security Council’s Advisory Board. He was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu from 2002-2008. He received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford and has been a visiting Professor at Stanford University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Illinois, and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris. He has published extensively including eight books and more than a hundred articles. He was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian awards, for his contribution to education and public life.

Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies

Anthony D'Costa

Professor Anthony P. D'Costa is the Australia India Institute's Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies at the Univeristy of Melbourne. Prior to joining Melbourne University, Professor D'Costa was Research Director, Asia Research Centre at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Prior to this he was with the University of Washington for 18 years. He has written extensively on the political economy of steel, automobile, and IT industries covering themes of globalisation, development, innovations, and industrial restructuring.

Of his eight books, most recently he co-edited Transformation and Development: The Political Economy of Transition in India and China with Amiya Kumar Bagchi and edited A New India? Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century. He is working on globalisation and the international mobility of IT workers. He has been a fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Fulbright-Hays, Korea Foundation, Social Science Research Council, World Institute of Development Economics Research, and the Abe (Japan Foundation).

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Executive Director of Business Development

Jim Varghese

Jim Varghese AM is the Executive Director of Business Development of the Australia India Institute. He is based in Brisbane and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Springfield Land Corporation (SLC). Mr Varghese manages the development of the award-winning “World’s Best Master-Planned City”: Greater Springfield.  Jim has over 30 years’ experience in leading multifaceted government agencies covering transport, main roads, education, training, employment and primary industries in both the Victorian and Queensland public sector.

Australia India Institute-Observer Research Foundation Chair

Ashok Malik

Ashok Malik is the Chair of the Australia India Institute-Observer Research Foundation and an Indian current affairs columnist who writes for The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, The Pioneer and Tehelka. He has also contributed to international publications such as Forbes and YaleGlobal Online.

Ashok’s writing focuses on government, politics and foreign policy. Much of his recent work has dealt with the impact of globalisation on our world and in particular its social spheres. Ashok has been a journalist for 20 years now and recently authored a paper for the Lowy Institute on business and civil society influences on Indian foreign policy. Ashok obtained his B.A. (Hons) from the University of Calcutta, India.

Communications Assistant

Angus Blackman

Angus is currently studying a Master of International Relations through the Melbourne School of Government, while also working as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Workplace Leadership, based at the University of Melbourne.

His interests include Australian foreign policy and trade, particularly with India and Indonesia.

Research Assistant

Trent Brown

Trent Brown completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong in 2013. His thesis examined initiatives for sustainable rural development in India and considered the ways in which these initiatives were influenced by structures of social power. Trent has published articles on a wide variety of topics relating to contemporary India, including rural development, environmental politics, youth, mobility, urbanisation and rural-urban relations.

 

Operations Manager

Shanka De Silva

Shanka De Silva is the Operations Manager at the Australia India Institute and a HR and business management generalist with over nine years experience in multi-national organisations and local groups with international exposure. His expertise extends to both strategic and general business management dimensions.

Before his current position as the Office Manager for the Australia India Institute, Shanka’s most recent postings were as an HR Consultant (Policy & Research) at the University of Melbourne Business Centre (Administrative Divisions) and as a Human Resources Manager at Holcim Lanka Ltd. He graduated from the University of Delhi in Industrial Relations & Human Resources Management and successfully completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. He is also a Certified Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

Country Officer (India)

Abhay Gautam

Abhay Gautam is primarily responsible for student recruitment, representative management, alumni engagement and student services for University of Melbourne in India. He holds a Master of Biosciences (Biotechnology) degree from Sri Satya Sai University (2007) along with a Master of International Business and a Master of Business (Project Management) from Monash University (2009 – 2010). His prior work experience includes Education consultation and International Sales & Marketing roles with 6 years of diverse experience in Education, Agro-business, and Retail.

Executive Assistant to the Director

Tess Gross

Tess Gross is Executive Assistant to the Director. She originally trained as a secondary school teacher in History and English but has spent most of her working career in tertiary institutions including both Melbourne and Monash Universities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with a major in History and a Graduate Diploma in Education and has nearly two decades of administrative and teaching experience.

Tess has a connection to India stemming from a childhood in Fiji where Fiji-Indians were the backbone of the sugar industry, and expat workers like her father spoke Hindustani in the normal course of their day.

Program Coordinator, AII @Delhi

Roomana Hukil

Roomana is Program Coordinator at the AII @Delhi. She works on leadership initiatives, grants management, community engagement and events. Prior to this, she was Research Officer, Centre for Internal and Regional Security and Non-Traditional Security Programme at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies from 2012 to 2014.

Her primary research focus is on geopolitics, climate change, human security and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific. She also focuses on water conflicts in South Asia with particular attention on transnational relations, resource security, water sharing agreements, and dispute resolution mechanisms especially on the Brahmaputra basin.

At present, she is in the process of writing for an upcoming book, titled ‘Law and Society in South Asia’ and a Special Report titled ‘India China Relations: The Brahmaputra Deadlock’. She is associated with the Near East and South Asia (NESA) and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) networks.

She has graduated in Journalism (Hons.) from Delhi University (2009); and holds a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building from Jamia Millia Islamia University (2011). Prior to joining the IPCS, she interned with CNN IBN, Hindustan Times, The Times of India and the Centre for Science and Environment. She has been a recipient of “Educational Scholarship” from the Rotary News Trust via the Rotary International District 3010 in Journalism.

Operations and Finance Officer

Shibu Kitroo

Shibu is the Operations and Finance Officer at the Australia India Institute. 

Shibu’s background is in marketing and she has experience working in similar institutions which provide advocacy and consultative services to the government and businesses alike. Born and brought up in India, Shibu's love for and knowledge of India is intrinsic.

Operations and Projects Officer

Marianna Sarris

Marianna Sarris is Operations and Project Officer at the Australia India Institute. Marianna got her BA in International Business Administration at the American University in Paris. She has over 15 years experience in bilateral/international trade and projects working for the Canadian Government in the European Union and has also worked in office management, events and communications in non-profit organisations. Born in Canada, Marianna has lived in Canada, Italy, Lebanon, Greece and France and is excited to be part of the A.I.I and the University of Melbourne.

Events and Communications Officer

Simone Traglia

Simone Traglia is the Events and Communications Officer at the Australia India Institute. She graduated from the University of Melbourne having completed a Bachelor of Media and Communications in 2011. She began working at the University of Melbourne as an intern for the Festival of Ideas (a biennial major University event) before joining the Australia India Institute as the Events, Communications and Project Officer.

Simone has worked on the Aii's international and national conferences, as well as task force launches all over Australia. As well as managing the events programme, Simone also project manages 12 visiting academic fellows each year. Concurrently she project manages the Australia India Institute’s publications and communications folio alongside the Media and Communications Officer.

Media and Communications Officer

Kogulan Ravindran

Kogulan (Kog) Ravindran is the Media and Communications Officer at the Australia India Institute. He graduated from Monash University having completed a Bachelor of Journalism in 2012. He has previously worked as a writer, radio broadcaster and producer at Crocmedia, Tennis Australia, Star News and Pearl Magazine.

Deputy Director, AII @Delhi

Vinod Mirchandani

Vinod is Deputy Director (Engagement) at the Australia India Institute @Delhi. He has been responsible for the University of Melbourne’s Engagement in India since its inception in April 2007. His role involves student recruitment, industry collaboration’s, student services, academic & research partnerships and alumni .

Vinod has a Masters from the University of Buckingham and has completed the first year of his PhD in Marketing at the University of Melbourne.

Vinod previously worked at the Australia India Institute in 2011.