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Education and Research Counsellors at post are our in-country experts. They work to maintain and further develop the strong government-to-government relationships between Australia and our priority partner countries, both through bilateral (direct engagement between Australia and one other country) and multilateral forums (engagement where Australia is just one of multiple countries working together). This engagement is fundamental to maintaining our close ties with partner countries, and also in supporting mobility opportunities for students, workers, and researchers, for mutual economic benefit, growth and prosperity.
Ms Karen Welsh
Karen Welsh is the Minister-Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Beijing.
Karen was previously Assistant Secretary (Access Branch) in the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, where she led bilateral engagement with partner governments in South East Asia and Latin America, and regularly represented Australia in key multilateral fora including APEC and G20. Other responsibilities included qualifications recognition policy and leading Commonwealth planning for the return of international students to Australia. From 2013–2017, Karen was the Counsellor (Education and Science) at the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. Before joining the public service she worked in various university management roles. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Queensland, and a Master of Tertiary Education Management from the University of Melbourne.
Ms Rachel Lynch
Rachel Lynch is First Secretary (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Beijing, China.
Rachel has had a diverse career in the education sector working in both state and territory and federal government positions. Rachel has extensive strategic policy experience in a range of areas, including teaching and school leadership and international student mobility, with a primary focus on school education and improving student outcomes. Prior to working in government, Rachel was a classroom teacher. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Queensland.
Australian Embassy China
21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Locally Engaged Staff in China
Ms Xiaofeng Lei
Ms Haipei (Felicia) Cui
Ms Huayi (Rachel) Jin
Media and Research
Ms Janine Pitt
Janine Pitt is the Counsellor (Education and Research) for Japan and the Republic of Korea and is based at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.
Janine has extensive international experience representing Australia and the Department at senior levels at a wide range of International and multilateral fora. Janine was previously based in Paris for three years as Minister-Counsellor with the Australian Delegation to the OECD where she focused on Employment, Education, Skills and Vocational Training. In addition, Janine has held the position of Australia’s Representative to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – a United Nations agency based in Geneva where she was a key member of the Asia-Pacific Group. She has represented Australia at international G20 meetings and both led and hosted International delegations in Australia and abroad.
Janine has held a number of Senior Executive positions within the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and its predecessors including as NSW/ACT State Manager of the Department. Most recently, she had responsibility for the development, management and delivery of key aspects of the national employment services program which aimed at improving the efficiency of the labour market and encouraging employment participation.
Australian Embassy Japan
Locally Engaged Staff in Japan
Ms Kumiko Tsukamoto
Senior Education Manager
Locally Engaged Staff in Korea
Ms Juhee Hong
Ms Keumjo Shim
Australian Embassy Korea
19th Floor, Kyobo Building
1 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu
Mr Mathew Johnston
Mathew Johnston is the Minister-Counsellor (Education and Research) for South Asia covering India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and is based at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.
Prior to his appointment as Minister-Counsellor, Mathew was Counsellor (Education and Science) at the Australian Embassy in Brazil. In this role he helped to establish the Brazil-Australia Centre for Internationalisation of Education as a platform for showcasing and profiling Australia’s excellence in higher education; negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Confederation of State Research Foundations (CONFAP) to increase joint research activities including the inaugural Australia-Brazil Virtual Research Collaboration; and increased awareness of Australia’s industry-informed vocational education system across Brazil including through pilot programs and trainings between Brazilian and Australian providers.
Mathew has extensive Australian Government experience at the Senior Executive Service level having led a range of priority government policy and program reforms in the Department of Social Services, including:
- the design of the National Redress Scheme for victims of child sexual abuse;
- management of families and children programs;
- change management activities for program data management in the Community Grants Hub; and
- the design of the initial cashless debit card trials.
Working together with Mr Nathaniel Webb, First Secretary (Education and Research) at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, Mathew is responsible for strengthening and expanding Australia’s education bilateral relationships across South Asia.
Mr Nathaniel Webb
Nathaniel is the First Secretary (Education and Research) for South Asia covering India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and is based at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.
Prior to his appointment as First Secretary, Nathaniel was an Assistant Director with the Department of Education’s South Asia Section where he led the department’s engagement on the Australia-India Education Qualifications Recognition Taskforce.
During his public service career Nathaniel has worked extensively on qualifications recognition policy and international education policy more broadly with the Department of Education.
He has also worked widely across the Australian Public Service, including with the Attorney-General’s Department where his work focused on migrant worker protections, and at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he supported the establishment of the Department’s Professional Services Mutual Recognition Unit to facilitate enhanced trade in Australian professional services.
Prior to joining the public service Nathaniel worked as an International Student Advisor at Griffith University and held an honorary position as Secretary-Treasurer with the Australian Institute of International Affairs (QLD branch). Prior to this he worked with International Education Services in Brisbane as a Student Counsellor supporting international students undertaking the University of Queensland Foundation Year program and spent two years in South Korea as an English language tutor.
Nathaniel has a Bachelor of Arts from Griffith University and a Master of Diplomacy and Trade from Monash University.
Mr Han Xiao Zhang
Han Xiao Zhang is the Counsellor (Education and Research) for Jakarta, Indonesia.
Han has diverse experience across government and the private sector. At the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Han has worked across legislation, policy and economic roles in Higher Education, Schools and Early Childhood Education. Prior to his appointment, Han was the director of an economics and research team in Higher Education where he was instrumental in shaping the Job-ready Graduates reforms. Han has also facilitated amendments to the main legislation relating to school education and led the reform of the national approach to early childhood education and care quality standards.
Han has considerable business development experience, having worked at Deloitte where he delivered risk management, business transformation and internal audit services for clients in Federal and State governments, Higher Education and Financial Services.
Australian Embassy Indonesia
Jalan Patra Kuningan Raya Kav 1-4
Jakarta Selatan 12950
Locally Engaged Staff in Indonesia
Ms Marie Purba
Senior Policy Officer
Ms Fiona Morris
Fiona Morris is the Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian High Commission in Malaysia with responsibility for furthering Australia’s bilateral education, training and research relationships with Malaysia.
Fiona has had a diverse career in the government and education sectors, with a focus on higher education, research and science policy. Fiona has previously served as the Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Mexico City and the Consul (Education, Science and Training) with the Australian Consulate-General in Los Angeles. From 2009–2017, Fiona also worked at one of Australia’s premier research-intensive universities, the University of Sydney, as the General Manager of the Faculty of Pharmacy.
Australian High Commission Malaysia
6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Locally Engaged Staff in Malaysia
Ms Azra Elia
Senior Policy Officer (Education and Research)
Ms Jen Bahen
Jen Bahen is the Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam with responsibility for Vietnam and Thailand. Prior to commencing this role, Jen was the Director for International Education at TAFE Directors Australia. In this role, Jen was responsible for supporting Australian TAFEs to further their international engagement and facilitated a number of agreements and programs that supported TAFEs to expand globally. Jen also led Australia’s engagement with the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics providing invaluable experienced into global skilling systems.
Jen has extensive government and private sector experience in the schools, vocational education and youth engagement areas from previous departmental roles, and considerable international experience from previous postings to Beijing and Bangkok, managing Australia’s broad bilateral relationship with China and Thailand. Jen has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Melbourne.
Australian Embassy Vietnam
8 Dao Tan Street
Ba Dinh District
Locally Engaged Staff in Vietnam
Ms Tran Le Ha
Ms Tran Thi Thanh Van
Project and Administration Officer
Locally Engaged Staff in Thailand
Ms Watinee Kharnwong
Australian Embassy Thailand
181 Wireless Rd
Ms Kassia Hare
Kassia Hare is the Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Brazil. Working closely with her counterpart in Mexico City, Kassia has responsibility for Australia’s education, training and science relationships with Latin American countries outside of the Pacific Alliance, with a primary focus on Brazil and Argentina.
Kassia previously worked in the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on Australia's Vocational Education and Training (VET) system including on industry engagement in VET and qualifications reform. Prior to this, Kassia has worked across a number of Australian Government agencies focusing on improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including leading the co-design of the formal Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap with Indigenous leaders, as well as the Remote Housing Review.
Kassia graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 2008 and the Australian National University with her Graduate Diploma of Legal practice in 2009. She was later admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the ACT Supreme Court in 2009.
Australian Embassy Brazil
SES Quadra 801
Conjunto K, Lote 7
Locally Engaged Staff in Brazil
Ms Luisa Feldman Neves
Senior Policy Officer
Mr Tiago Cordeiro
Senior Policy Officer
Ms Barbara Klompenhouwer
Barbara Klompenhouwer is the Counsellor (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in Mexico. Working closely with her counterpart in Brazil, Barbara has responsibility for Australia’s education, training and research relationships with Mexico and other Pacific Alliance countries (Colombia, Peru and Chile).
Barbara has extensive strategic policy experience across a range areas within the International Division of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, including managing bilateral engagement with Latin America, multilateral engagement through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and supporting the development of a new Australian Strategy for International Education. Prior to joining the department, Barbara had a diverse career in the not-for-profit sector in range of education-related roles within Australia and offshore.
Barbara holds a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Media/Bachelor of International Studies (Hons) from the University of Adelaide.
Australian Embassy Mexico
Ruben Dario 55
Col. Bosque de Chapultepaec
Mexico City 11580
Locally Engaged Staff in Mexico
Ms Andrea Valencia Montes de Oca
Senior Policy Manager (Education and Research)