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About AAVA

Our Purpose

AAVA is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to sharing the transformative power of education by supporting locally led capacity building efforts at universities in the Indo-Pacific.  We match suitably motivated and qualified academics, current, about-to-retire or recently retired, with volunteer opportunities identified by our university partners.

By leveraging our expertise and resources, we are able to support our university partners and create an impactful and meaningful experience for our expert volunteers.

Our Values and Commitments

We value:

  • Equity and social justice

  • Integrity

  • Humility

  • Accountability

  • Diversity and inclusion

  • Respectful partnerships


We are committed to:

  • Supporting goals and aspirations that are locally owned and led

  • Strengthening capacity through sharing expertise and knowledge

  • Deep and genuine exchange of knowledge and outcomes

  • Educational excellence

  • Building relationships of mutual respect and trust

  • Respect for human rights and a strengths-based culturally appropriate and inclusive approach

  • Volunteering for development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Our Origin Story 

AAVA is a charity established by lifelong academic and university executive, Graham Schaffer and former academic and industry professional, Libby Mitchell.  Both Graham and Libby have experienced the transformative power of a university education – personally and as teachers, mentors and witnesses to the growth of students and colleagues through education.

AAVA began with a conversation during a 2015 visit to the Solomon Islands. Over the course of many more trips to the South Pacific, that conversation evolved into an idea for a volunteering organisation that matches the capacity-building needs of universities in developing countries with recently retired and current academics.  ​Evidence to support the need for an organisation with a specialised focus on academics emerged from university leadership in the region, colleagues and partners working in development, the learned academies, peers in the university sector and from other international organisations with similar missions. 

AAVA was formally established on 17 May 2023.  

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