ANU Delegation

The ANU student delegation comes from a wide range of disciplines, from both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Organising team

Julie Melrose - Delegation Director

Julie is the Director of the ANU Delegation to Rio+20 and is passionate about involving students and young people in international environmental meetings and public policy debate on the future of our planet. At Rio+20 Julie will focus on the international law aspects of the proposed new institutional framework for sustainable development, and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). 
At the ANU, Julie is President of the ANU Postgraduate and Research Student Association, and completing her Juris Doctor (JD) postgraduate law degree, specialising in international environmental law and human rights. Prior to coming to ANU, she completed a Bachelor of International Studies (Government and International Relations) from the University of Sydney in 2008 and worked as a PADI Divemaster leading dive trips on the Belize Barrier Reef in 2009. Julie has been working for social and environmental justice in various roles for the last 5 years, including as International Women's Day Coordinator at UN Women Australia, an assistant in the Office of Senator Bob Brown (Leader of the Australian Greens), a Community Development Project Manager at Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services of the ACT, National Coordinator of Earth Hour at WWF Australia, as an observer/researcher at several UN Climate Change negotiations (COP13 in Bali & COP17 in Durban), and as an International Observer on the 2011 Referendum for the Self-Determination of Southern Sudan diaspora voting in Australia. Julie is a member of the International Youth Council, National Environmental Law Association and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. Julie loves exploring the outdoors, mountain-biking, XC skiing and bushwalking.

Tatiana Stotz - Logistics Organiser 

Tatiana Stotz is a final year ANU Juris Doctor (Hons) student with a background in International Relations. She is passionate about corporate social responsibility and currently works for an Asian consultancy specialising in strategic sustainable business practices. In 2011, she was selected to represent the ANU at the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa. Tatiana is an active student that has balanced academic success, such as topping the London School of Economics Summer School Course on Comparative Corporate Governance, with involvement in student organisations such as PARSA and the ANU LSS. In 2006, Tatiana became one of Australia's youngest registered migration agents and has specialised in Humanitarian and Protection Visas.

Luke Kemp - Engagement Organiser 
Luke Kemp is currently undertaking a PhD candidature at the Fenner School of Environment and Society (Australian National University). Luke was recently awarded with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Honours- First Class) (Sustainability). His current area of interest and study is the organisational design, change and reform of international environmental institutions and governance. At Rio+20 he will be examining how a World Environment Organisation could emerge and what processes would shape its design and function. Luke is going to Rio+20 as the first phase of fieldwork for my research, to network with other researchers, future respondents and likeminded individuals and to engage with perhaps one of the most historic environmental conferences in recent history. Luke has previously attended the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen (2009) and another climate change negotiation session last year. Luke will seek to help others in the delegation participate effectively and make the most out of this opportunity. In terms of research he will perform a number of interviews and observations of negotiation sessions for a journal article that will contribute to as a chapter to my thesis by publication. Luke has a particular interest in languages; having studied German for the past two years he is now looking to study Spanish or Portuguese in preparation for the conference. While originally from Bega on the Far South Coast of New South Wales Luke has lived in Canberra for the past four years. 

ANU Staff 

Teifi Caron - Sustainability Officer ANUgreen

Teifi is no longer a student at ANU, having completed his Bsc (Environmental and Resource Mangement) in 2005 and Masters of Climate Change in 2010. He now works for ANUgreen - the Energy and Sustainability Department of the University in the Facilities and Services Division - as a project manager and student outreach / community engagement officer and is responsible for coordinating the delegation's conference analysis back to the ANU community upon its return to campus. He is currently studying a Cert 4 in Building and Construction with an emphasis on sustainable building design and construction. This is a personal interest which will direct his attention at the conference towards green building, urban planning and energy efficiency measures. Knowledge gained in these areas will also have a high level of applicability to his current position in sustainable campus infrastructure projects.

Student Delegates

Katherine Aigner – Masters by Research (National Centre of Indigenous Studies)
Katherine has spent 15 years working with Indigenous knowledge holders and custodians around Australia and overseas and made educational documentaries. Her 2005 independent documentary Australian Atomic Confessions will screen in an International film festival at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil coinciding with the Rio+20 Conference. Her passion for Rio is to attend Indigenous forums, to meet, interview and network with Indigenous custodians fighting to preserve cultural heritage and bring their stories back to an Australian audience. Katherine has worked as an assistant curator at the National Museum of Australia and as an associate curator at the Vatican Ethnological Museum and co-curated exhibition - Rituals of Life- The Spirituality and Culture of Aboriginal Australians through the Vatican Museums Collection, opened by Hon. Kevin Rudd MP on 15 October 2010. Born in Sydney, growing up in Port Macquarie, Katherine lived and worked in Berlin and Rome and is currently back in Canberra to complete a Masters by Research degree at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU on the late north coast filmmaker, activist, cross-cultural teacher and scholar, Lorraine Mafi-Williams.

Karina Bontes-Forward - Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies (Indonesian)/Bachelor of Science (Human Ecology)
Karina Bontes Forward is native-born Canberran with South American and New Zealand roots. She is studying a combined degree of Asia-Pacific Studies and Science specialising in Indonesian Studies and Human Ecology, and is passionate about music of all types, dancing, languages, saving the planet and tea. She is going to Rio+20 to further her knowledge about the all-important global issues facing the world on the environmental, social and economic fronts, to meet interesting people and to try to tackle some wicked problems. Karina hopes to create good networks and learn about using creativity to deal with these world-level problems, and hopefully divulge some of this learning process to the diverse ANU and perhaps wider communities.

Sophia Christoe – Bachelor of Science (Resource & Environmental Management) Honours

Sophia grew up on a mixed cropping and sheep farm in the Goulburn Valley in northern Victoria. Inspired by a childhood spent climbing trees and tending to household chickens, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management) degree at the ANU. In an academic context Sophia is most interested in the growing and consumption ends of the food system: particularly sustainable agroecological food production systems, and how to encourage sustainable behavioural shifts in people's relationship with food. Her Honours thesis is using energetic and ecological principles to investigate how our future food production systems will need to be structured to best withstand future shocks and uncertainties, particularly surrounding fossil fuel scarcity. She hopes to gain from attending Rio+20 a better understanding of the institutional realities of trying to effect change at a global level, in the hope of this helping inform her future work trying to build more sustainable food systems in Australia. She particularly hopes to be able to share this knowledge with students as a tutor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society in Semester 2 2012.

Emily Davies – Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management)
Hi, my name is Emily Davies and I am in my fourth year of a BSc(Resources and Environmental Management)/LLB double degree at the Australian National University in Canberra. I am originally from Melbourne and completed my high school education at the MacRobertson Girl's High School. I enjoy bushwalking, camping, identifying eucalypts and art. I am very passionate about national and international environmental law and policy which is why I am so excited to be attending Rio 20+. I hope to learn about the operation and dynamics of the conference, I am also extremely excited at the prospect of seeing the negotiations unfold first hand. In the aftermath of this experience, I hope to be able to share what I have learnt with my peers, to broaden understanding and to encourage those who are interested to contribute to the process. 

Federico Davila – Master of Environment (Research thesis)

My name is Federico Davila, born in Venezuela, and living in Australia since 2005. I am currently studying a Master of Environment (Research) after completing a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (Sustainability), both degrees at the ANU. Academically, I am focusing my studies in the influence civil society, particularly peasant farmer movements, can have in shaping more sustainable and equitable food systems. Broader than academic interests, I am an avid music lover, rock concert-attendee, IT wizard, and travelling addict. At Rio+20, I wish to promote the academic excellence of the ANU and demonstrate what students are capable of. The conference will give me an opportunity to maximise my bilingual skills, and apply my knowledge of policy and food systems to the sustainable development field. Attending the conference will give me an opportunity to build stronger networks with institutions and civil society movements which will benefit the long-term of my studies, and more broadly, the relationship of the ANU with South American bodies. After the conference, I plan to continue my role as a tutor for the sustainable development course, and provide ANU students with my experience at the conference and the outcomes from a student perspective.

Kate Dy - Master of International Relations/Master of Diplomacy

Kate Dy is from the Philippines, a beautiful country of seven thousand islands in South East Asia. Kate is currently studying Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Diplomacy at ANU the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship. Before coming to Canberra, she was a lecturer at the University of the Philippines where I worked at minimum wage introducing five hundred undergraduates per semester to the love of language and literature. She never had much money, growing up in a developing country, but found that by not just accepting what life hands you, anyone from anywhere can start making changes in the world. Kate’s passion is saving the world’s oceans. She believes that our coral reefs are the most beautiful creatures on earth, and that too little is being done to protect them. In line with this, she has worked with conservation groups in the Philippines and embarked upon reef rescue and climate change awareness projects all across the country. As the Rio+20 is the most important conference regarding these issues, it is of tremendous importance for Kate to attend and hear what the international community has to say; with the hope that in the future, her own voice will be heard.

Sarlae McAlpine – PhD (Earth Sciences)

Sarlae McAlpine grew up on remote, sub-tropical Norfolk Island. She moved to the ‘mainland’ in 2005 to study astrophysics at the Australian National University but was brought back down to earth after discovering her love for the multidisciplinary science of geology. Sarlae is currently studying for her doctorate at the Research School of Earth Sciences, within the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at the Australian National University. At Rio+20 Sarlae will focus on the theme of ‘reducing disaster risk and building resilience’ and also follow with great interest the topic of ‘mining for a sustainable future’. Sarlae was presented the 2006 Australia Day Award of ‘Young Citizen of the Year’, Norfolk Island. Sarlae is a member and volunteer for UN Women and ANU Green and volunteers as an academic tutor at the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services of the ACT and for the Scientists in Schools Program. Sarlae is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, The Geological Society of Australia and the European Society of Geochemistry. Sarlae is the former Vice President of the Postgraduate Representative Council at the Australian National University and was a research collaborator at Bristol University, UK in 2011. Sarlae loves literature, baking, music, golf and a nice cup of tea.

William Mudford – Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws

William is planning on doing research at Rio+20 into the involvement of civil society, including trade unions and other non-government organisations, with a particular focus on the engagement of their members and supporters in the processes of the conference. William hopes to be able to use this experience to help civil society improve their grassroots involvement in international negotiations. He also hopes to use this experience to help civil society better connect with the ANU in mutually beneficial ways. William is a student that was born and raised in Canberra, studying at Campbell Primary, Lyneham High School and Dickson College. He is in the fifth year of his combined degree of Arts and Law. In his Arts degree he is majoring in sociology and international relations. He has just returned from a year of academic exchange at Trinity College in Dublin and a summer research scholarship at the Centre for Communication and Social Change at the University of Queensland. For fun he plays the ukulele and rides his bicycle, sometimes at the same time.

Elizabeth Proctor – Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Economics

Elizabeth moved interstate from Melbourne to attend ANU because she felt it was the best place for development studies and IR. She has always wanted to do good in the world, and this aim led her to focus on climate change and the environment. She believes in social equity across space and time, and that the sustainable use of resources for socially just outcomes is vitally important. Her combined interests in development and the environment have led her to focus on urban space and transport, since high quality public transport and active travel cities are places where you don't have to afford a car to participate in society. She believes that cities are the site of pollution but also the sink for the materials of the world, and how cities behave is a global issue. Rio+20 is important to EP because beyond formal negotiations, this is a chance for countries and cities to learn from each other and form networks of best practice, allowing good ideas to spread and new ideas to form. Elizabeth wants to identify what Australian cities can do better and what we can offer the world, bringing constructive ideas home that can contribute to Australia's climate change mitigation and improving our society.

Ben Sims – Master of Environmental Management and Development/Master of Diplomacy
I'm from Rotorua, New Zealand, and moved to Canberra for graduate studies. I'm in my last semester of a Master of Diplomacy/Master of Environmental Management and Development at ANU. I'm also working part-time as research associate for the Vanuatu based Pacific Institute of Public Policy, a researcher for the Development Policy Centre, and a tutor at ANU. Previously, I worked at the East Asia Bureau of Economic Research and East Asia Forum, and completed a BSc in Biology and Marine Science at the University of Auckland. I've got an addiction to unsuccessfully learning languages, 5th attempt is Portuguese! And after 5 months in Vanuatu last year, a taste for kava and ocean swimming. I'm going to Rio+20 to experience environmental diplomacy in action, and learn more about how New Zealand and Australia can assist with implementing green economic growth in the Asia Pacific. Following the conference, I plan to write opinion pieces assessing how the conference outcomes can be implemented in Pacific island countries.

Tom Stayner - Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science

Tom graduated in 2011 with a double degree in Arts and Science, with a focus on environmental and development topics. He has been an active member of the ANU Environment Collective and a director of the Canberra Student Housing Co-operative, with the latter leading him to pursue an Honours topic on co-operatives, starting mid-year. As 2012 is the UN International Year of Co-operatives, he is looking forward to researching the role of these organisations in sustainable development at Rio+20. More broadly, he is looking foward to seeing first-hand how a massive, complex and sometimes mysterious international conference like Rio+20 works, and helping to communicate this to the broader ANU community. 

Maris Tebecis – Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Commerce

Maris, born and raised in Canberra, is studying a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Commerce at the Australian National University, majoring in Environmental Policy and Corporate Sustainability. Maris has also completed short-term programs at the University of Cambridge on sustainability in the built environment, the University of California Berkeley on environmental education and climate change economics, and the University of Tokyo on sustainable urban management. He is passionate about education for sustainability and the engagement of young people in creating a sustainable future. He also loves cooking, playing guitar and spending time in nature. At Rio+20 he hopes to inspire change makers to put education for sustainability as a priority. After returning from the Summit, he hopes to share newly found ideas and inspiration with young people and continue to further education for sustainability in Australia.

Glen Wright – PhD (Law)
Glen Wright is originally from the UK and is currently undertaking a PhD in law, focusing on the regulation of renewable energy. Glen is particularly interested in energy issues and the role of energy in sustainable development. Glen is hoping to better understand the international policymaking process by attending the conference and to learn about, and assess, the international community's plan to transition to a clean energy future. He is currently being distracted by trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in less than one minute.

Yin Yang – Master of Forestry
Yin Yang is a Chinese master student of the forestry program at Fenner School, specializing in forest biodiversity conservation. He is concerned about China’s forestry policies towards sustainable development. He likes to observe plants so indulged he often forgets himself. He is looking forward to going to Rio+20 and is interested in evoking concerns of Chinese people about greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. At the end of Rio+20, he hopes that some of the Chinese media can report his ideas and activities with ANU at the conference, and also let Chinese young people know what UN REDD Mechanisms are and why the Chinese government should engage in this program.


  1. What an impressive delegation of bright, committed young people. As one nearing the end of life they give me hope for the future of our planet which is bedevilled by problems which appear to be insurmountable. As I read delegate bios it is clear that these are people unafraid of challenge and who regard problems as part of life's zest. Great good fortune to all of you.

    1. Dear Gareth,

      Thank you so much for your kind words!
      Please keep following our blog to keep up with what we are doing over in Rio.

      Julie Melrose

    2. Hahaha, thanks Dad! I'll be keeping you and Mum up-to-date with all the news from Rio in just over a week :) And yes, Julie and team have done an excellent job in hand-picking a brilliant group of committed environmentalists to give their input on our planet's future. Stay tuned xx