Our Ambassador’s

Peter Quinn

Peter conducted graduate studies in astronomy and astrophysics at the Australian National University and received his PhD in 1982.

During postdoctoral appointments in Theoretical Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology (1982-1985) and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (1985-1989), Peter pursued his research interests in galaxy formation and dynamics, computational cosmology and dark matter using supercomputing facilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In 1989, Peter took up a Research Fellowship at ANU to lead the Australian involvement in the MACHO Dark Matter Search Project with discoveries featured on the front cover of Nature in 1993.

In 1995, Peter accepted a position as Division Head of the newly formed Data Management and Operations Division at the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Munich. While at ESO, Peter led the efforts to design, implement and operate the science data flow system for the world’s largest observatory – the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). This work was awarded a Computerworld 21st Century Achievement Award for Science in June 2005.

In August 2006, Peter took up a WA Premier’s Fellowship and became the Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Western Australia. He was appointed the inaugural Executive Director of the new International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in 2009.

Peter is Deputy Chair of the Australian and New Zealand SKA Coordination Committee, he became WA Scientist of the Year in 2012 and was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2013. 

Sandy Chong

A Harvard Alumnus, founder of Verity Consulting and an award-winning contributor in international business and economic empowerment, Sandy is the winner of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen Award (2019), the USA Stevie Awards for Women in Business (2017) and the Singapore Management Consultant of the Year Award (2016).

An accomplished researcher and a leading consultant of international strategy and communication, Sandy is one of the first doctorate academics in Asia-Pacific to specialise in e-Commerce in 1999. With more than 15 years’ experience leading multinational and cross-disciplinary teams worldwide, Sandy has been the chief strategist for clients’ pursuit of international growth. To date, she has assisted businesses in Australia, Asia, Europe and US to expand sustainably and successfully.

A two-timed scholarship recipient in Australia, Sandy graduated with a PhD in Information System and a First-Class Honours in Marketing. Sandy is a strong advocate of education and economic empowerment for youth and was appointed the Ambassador for the Valuing Children Initiative and the Global Ambassador for The Inspiring Rarebirds. To date, she has assisted over two hundred companies and serves on boards of start-up in Silicon Valley, government agencies in Singapore, business council and University in Australia.Sandy delivers keynotes on leadership, international business and social impact at Fortune 500 firms, Harvard Business School, Yahoo!, Apple, Special Olympics, and the United Nations.

Sandy is most recently awarded by the Governor of WA the Australia Community Citizen of the Year (2020) for her contribution to the industry and community nationally and abroad.  As the President of the United Nations Association in WA, Sandy is most passionate in advocating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promoting peace and prosperity for all.

Professor Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Peter is an academic who has written 20 books and over 350 papers on sustainable cities with a global reputation and has worked to deliver his ideas in all levels of government.

Peter has worked in local government as an elected councillor in Fremantle, in Western Australia’s state government as an advisor to three Premiers and in the Australian Government on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and the Prime Minister’s Cities Reference Group. He is the Co-ordinating Lead Author for the UN’s IPCC on Transport.

In 2014 Peter was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport particularly for his work in saving and rebuilding Perth’s rail system. In 2018/19, Peter was the WA Scientist of the Year. Peter is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Springer journal Sustainable Earth. 

Dr Vanessa Rauland

Dr Vanessa Rauland is an entrepreneur, academic, author and public speaker. She is the Founder and CEO of WA GreenTech startup ClimateClever, which helps schools, homes and communities to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their utility bills. Vanessa is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, where she has been a researcher and lecturer in the field of climate change and sustainability for 10 years. She has a keen interest in innovation, STEM, social impact and entrepreneurship and is passionate about tackling climate change through education, technology and startups. Vanessa also works with Climate-KIC Australia, helping to deliver their Cleantech entrepreneurial activities and events in WA. She loves the outdoors, is a carbon nerd, a yoga junkie and an eternal optimist.