Our People

Our People

2016 AHL 704 Semerang Profiles


Associate Professor Phil Connors is co-Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership and Course Director for the Master of Humanitarian Assistance (MHA). Phil is also a Course Leader of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Humanitarian Responses to 21st Century Disasters.

Phil holds a PhD in Community Economic Development, and has more than 30 years of experience in practice, teaching and researching community participatory development across many contexts. Phil has conducted field-based research in many countries across Asia and the Pacific, including in Indigenous communities throughout Australia as well as Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and he has authored several journal articles and book chapters. More recently, Phil has led the design and development of innovative humanitarian courses built around strong partnerships with sector NGOs.

Phil’s expertise and research interests lie in exploring the transition from humanitarian assistance to development and what factors may enhance or limit participatory processes in the humanitarian sector.



Stephen McDonald is co-Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership. He has more than 10 years’ experience in leading humanitarian responses, including in Japan, Thailand and the Ivory Coast. As Head of Humanitarian Programmes with Save the Children, Stephen was responsible for developing global tools and systems to improve Save the Children’s humanitarian response efforts.

Prior to joining Save the Children, Stephen worked in the private and government sectors, and spent a number of years in emergency services in Australia.

Stephen studied at La Trobe and Deakin Universities, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development. He has lectured on humanitarian issues at City University, London, Warminster, and the Australian Emergency Management Institute. He has also lectured on Civil/Military issues at the Australian Defence Force. Stephen’s current research examines command and control in the digital age.

2016 AHL 704 Semerang faculty Staff Profiles


Sophie Perreard is a lecturer in Humanitarian Assistance and Head of Teaching and Learning at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership. In her role, Sophie is Course Director of the Humanitarian Leadership Programme/Graduate Certificate of Humanitarian Leadership and lectures in the Master of Humanitarian Assistance. Her research focuses on leadership, governance and ethics in complex humanitarian emergencies.

Sophie has over 13 years of experience as a humanitarian practitioner, working mainly in emergency and post emergency contexts in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Middle-East. Before joining Deakin, Sophie worked for Save the Children USA as Deputy Director Emergency Response – Team Leader, and in various capacities with Doctors without Borders (MSF), the German Cooperation (GIZ) and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Sophie has lectured at Aix-Marseille University in France, in the areas of humanitarian protection and assistance. She has a Humanitarian Logistics and Administration degree, a European Master in Humanitarian Action and a Post Graduate Degree in Protection – Rule of Law – Human Security from Aix-Marseille University.

Leonie Lonton - Intensive Coaching Lead


Leonie has had the privilege of working with Save the Children for over 30 years – in all kinds of operational and policy orientated HR roles. Most recently she has led the HR Workstream as part of the set-up of Save the Children International and is currently Director of People and Organisation Development. As part of this role, Leonie is working with colleagues and partners, developing a new Humanitarian and Leadership Academy initiative which weaves together Save the Children’s established Leadership Academy and humanitarian capacity building work to create exciting new opportunities for professional development in the humanitarian sector.

She has a BSc in Psychology and more recently has qualified as a NLP (Neuro linguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is passionate about the development and support of our people.


Sarah currently works as a lecturer with the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership for the HLP and the Masters of Humanitarian Assistance subjects. She is also the Humanitarian Advocacy and Policy Adviser for Save the Children Australia, based in Lebanon.

Sarah has over eight years of international experience as a humanitarian practitioner, having worked in emergency and post-emergency contexts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East with various humanitarian agencies such as Save the Children, Action Against Hunger and Merlin. Starting her career in logistics and operations, Sarah has led emergency responses in Iraq for the Syrian refugee crisis, in the Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan, Typhoon Bopha, Tropical Storm Washi and the Manila Floods, and in Myanmar during the displacement of ethnic groups caused by violence. Sarah has also designed and led trainings on emergency preparedness and response in country offices throughout Asia.

She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Masters on International Studies (Peace and Conflict Resolutions) from the University of Queensland, and is currently studying a Masters of International and Public Law at University of Melbourne. She is also a graduate of the Graduate Certificate of Humanitarian Leadership.



Daniel has over 20 years experience working, teaching and researching in the humanitarian and international development sectors. Daniel came to Deakin University in February 2015 after 6 years lecturing at the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia in the UK where he taught a range of undergraduate courses (Politics and International Development; War Humanitarian Crises and Aid) and convened a Masters module (Conflict Peace and Security).

As a practioner, Daniel’s experience includes 8 years working for the Australian Aid Programme in a variety of roles including  as a programme manager on the Solomon Islands, Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East Desks and in the Peace and Conflict Unit. He worked for Care International in humanitarian settings in North Iraq, Kosovo and Aceh, Indonesia. He has also worked as an evaluation consultant to UNICEF (Solomon Islands); UNDP (Uganda) and OXFAM GB (UK and India).

2016 AHL 704 Semerang faculty Staff Profiles



Deborah is an experienced trainer working with UN agencies and NGOs. Her key areas of expertise are child protection, development and youth empowerment practitioner with a 22-year track record in the design, implementation and monitoring of programs in both development and emergency settings. She has also spent 18 years based in the field working directly with communities and working with a variety of governments and cultures.

Deb blends a mixture of expertise in high-level strategic planning and direction along with programmatic inputs including the development of curricular materials and staff training. She has directly managed multi-disciplinary teams as well as been invited to serve as an external facilitator in the development of agency wide strategies and national legislation.

Deb has recently established her own NGO with some other consultants called CWTCH international which is primarily focused on helping NGOs develop and implement youth leadership programs and youth led research. At home in Wales, Deb has volunteered as a youth leader for adolescent girls aged 12 – 18 groups for the past 10 years.


Yaseen is a Research Coordinator at the Centre of Humanitarian Leadership. He has seven years research, evaluation and international development experience with a range of donors and non-governmental organisations. Previously, Yaseen worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Senior Program Officer where he designed and implemented community development, agriculture and livelihood programmes in Afghanistan. He has also worked on USAID and DFID-funded programmes where he was involved in the design, management, monitoring and implementation of humanitarian and development initiatives in the rural communities of Afghanistan.

Yaseen holds a Bachelor degree in Agriculture, a Diploma in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a double Master degree in Evaluation and International Development. Yaseen’s research interests include developmental evaluation and participatory rural appraisals


Nick has led learning and development in multinational private sector organisations and is now a consultant and coach to senior leaders and teams. He has over 12 years’ experience in leadership and organisation development, working with central government departments, INGO’s and private sector clients in the UK, the US, Africa and Asia.

He has spent years exploring the challenges leaders face when operating in complex and challenging contexts and what they can do to become more impactful and effective. His practice is informed by the diverse fields of academic theory, professional sport, martial arts and, perhaps most importantly, practical experience of what works.

Nick has an MA in International Relations and became a qualified Executive Coach in 2004. He is a graduate of the NTL Institute’s Certificate in Organisation Development and is certified in Hogan Assessment Systems and the Kaplan Devries Leadership Versatility Index.