top of page

Who We Are

Our Patrons

AAVA is honoured to have the patronage of two eminent members of the academic community with distinguished records of service to higher education as scholars and university leaders.

They act as advocates for AAVA in various ways.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia
Vice Chancellor and President
University of the South Pacific

Professor Pal Ahluwalia is Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the South Pacific. He has always had a deep interest in the complexities of identity formation, yet his own upbringing and professional career reflects a myriad of cultural influences. He was born in Kenya, schooled in Canada, received a Bachelors degree and a Master of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, and then completed his PhD at Flinders University in Adelaide. He was subsequently at Adelaide University as Professor in the Department of Politics, then Visiting Professor with the University of California Berkeley and Professor with the Goldsmiths College at the University of London, where he was also Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies. Prior to commencing as Pro Vice Chancellor, at the University of South Australia, Professor Ahluwalia was Research SA Chair and Professor of Post-Colonial Studies in the Hawke Research Institute and Director of the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies. At the same time, he was a Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California. His main research interests lie in the areas of African studies, social and cultural theory, in particular, postcolonial theory and the processes of diaspora, exile, and migration. Professor Ahluwalia is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, a UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies and served as Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at the University of Portsmouth.

VC Margaret Sheil_09062023_Preferred.webp

Professor Margaret Sheil AO
Vice-Chancellor and President
Queensland University of Technology

Professor Margaret Sheil AO has been Vice-Chancellor of QUT since February 2018. Professor Sheil is also Chair of the Board of the Queensland Museum Network, Deputy Chair of the Board of Universities Australia and the lead Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation for Universities Australia. Professor Sheil served as CEO of the Australian Research Council from 2007-2012. She has been an academic in chemistry and held senior roles at the University of Wollongong, including as Dean of Science and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and was Provost at the University of Melbourne from 2012-2017. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS). Professor Sheil has served as a Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Academy of Technology and Engineering. She has been a member of the Advisory Boards of Coursera and a Director of a range of other startups. She served on the Advisory bodies for the Australian Space Agency, CSIRO Science and Industry Innovation and Engineering Endowment Fund, the Prime Minister’s Science, CSIRO Science and Industry Endowment Fund, the Prime Ministers Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the National Research Infrastructure Council and the Cooperative Research Centres Committee. In 2023 Professor Sheil chaired the “Trusting Australia’s Ability: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001”. Professor Sheil was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017 for her distinguished service to science and higher education as an academic and administrator, through significant contributions to the national research landscape, and to performance standards. Professor Sheil holds a Bachelor of Science and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from The University of New South Wales and was presented with the Science and Technology Alumni Award from UNSW in 2016. In 2017 the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) established the annual Margaret Sheil Leadership award to recognize a female leader in chemistry.

Our Board

Our Partners

Australian Volunteers International

AVI Reworked.png

Australian Volunteers International was established in 1951 and is Australia’s longest running international volunteer organisation. AVI exists to achieve community-determined development outcomes through the exchange of skills and knowledge by connecting people, organisations and communities, both within Australia and internationally. AVI's programs are not “off-the-shelf” voluntourism, they are programs where we know the change is wanted, achievable, impactful and sustainable.

The Australian Volunteers Program

AVI Reworked.png

The Australian Volunteers Program is an Australian Government-funded initiative that supports global volunteering. The Program supports partner organisations operating across the Pacific, Asia, and Africa to achieve locally-led change and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.


The program fosters strong, mutual relationships between Australia and people and communities globally to contribute to achieving equitable development outcomes.

Our Partners

The University of the South Pacific


The University of the South Pacific. Established in 1968, USP is one of only two universities in the world that is run as an intergovernmental organisation. The University is jointly owned by the governments of 12 member countries: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Samoa.  Although the university has campuses in all 12 Pacific Island countries, its main campus is located in Suva, the capital of Fiji. The University's vision is to shape Pacific futures by empowering students, staff and alumni to become inspirational agents of positive change leading to innovative, cohesive, resilient and sustainable communities. 

Image by Janis Rozenfelds
bottom of page