The Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Asialink Fellowships

The Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Asialink Fellowships are awarded to two individuals from the not for profit sector to participate on the Asialink Leaders Program. Lieutenant Colonel Sir Ernest Edward "Weary" Dunlop, AC, CMG, OBE (12 July 1907 – 2 July 1993) was an Australian surgeon who was renowned for his leadership in Australia Asia relations. In 1993, a Dunlop Trust was established as a perpetual fund or trust with its activities occurring on an on-going basis as a perpetual memorial to Sir Edward Dunlop's vision for fostering meaningful and constructive relationships between Australia and the countries of Asia.

There are synergies between the Dunlop Fellowships and the Asialink Leaders Program. Both aim to improve Asia-Australia relations through a rich personal and professional development opportunity for emerging outstanding Australian leaders who have been selected through a rigorous application process.

Our two 2016 Asialink Leaders Program Dunlop Fellowship recipients are Sally Hasler from the Fred Hollows Foundation and David Sweeting from Save the Children Australia.

The Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Asialink Fellowships

Sally Hasler is the Regional Partnerships Manager, Asia, at the Fred Hollows Foundation, a leading international development NGO dedicated to ending avoidable blindness. Sally joined the Foundation in 2013 after three years living in Hong Kong, where she worked as a Senior Manager at The Women’s Foundation and as a Policy Advisor at the Australian Consulate-General. Sally is particularly interested in the role of philanthropy and partnerships to foster stronger Australia-Asia relations.

How is your current role linked to Asia?
I am responsible for identifying and fostering corporate and major donor partnerships in the Asia region as part of The Foundation’s new international strategy to expand our profile, diversify our income and increase our global impact. I work with our new regional office in Hong Kong, global head office in Sydney and our program teams in China and across South East Asia to develop partnerships that help us reach the increasing number of blind people in the Asia region.

What do you expect to get from the Asialink Leaders Program?
Despite having lived in Hong Kong for three years, my Asia learning was very much on-the-job. The Asialink Leaders Program is a unique opportunity for me to develop the skills, knowledge and capabilities I need to be more effective in my role. The structure of the program that focuses on group activities and discussions with others who have similar (yet diverse) Asia experiences/ambitions/interests means that not only is it a safe learning environment, but that you learn just as much from the other participants as the presenters.

How do you think you and your organisation can make a stronger contribution to relations with Asia?
The Foundation’s engagement with Asia goes back to when Fred first visited Vietnam in the early 90s and trained eye surgeons in modern cataract surgery. Despite this long history and our sight-saving programs across Asia, The Foundation is very much the quiet achiever outside of Australia. Our renewed focus on the region aims to align our advocacy, relationships and fundraising activities to match our long-standing programming in the region. As an Australian NGO, we have a really exciting opportunity to help expand Australia-Asia relations beyond trade and business investments to facilitate philanthropic and social investments, working in partnership with governments, corporates and individuals.

What are the key Asia capabilities that you see as important to your work?
As everyone knows who works in the region, everything comes down to relationships. For us this means that it is not about what is asked, but who asks. The Foundation, and myself personally, need to invest in building strong, respectful, peer-to-peer relationships with influential people and companies in the region that will help us open doors and ultimately, deliver on our vision to save sight. In addition, it is important that we collaborate with national governments and local partners rather than importing ideas and ways of working from Australia. From the beginning, we made a decision to go slowly, learn quickly from mistakes, listen and build the right relationships.

Can you speak about a time when you’ve needed cultural intelligence in your work?
When I was working at the Australian Consulate in Hong Kong, I was working with the Hong Kong Government after an avian flu incident to help facilitate Australian imports from areas outside the quarantined zone. During a high pressure meeting, there was a confusion about what importation documentation was required for a new shipment and I needed to identify how to solve the problem as effectively (and quickly) as possible and keep the various stakeholders happy. In hindsight, the cultural intelligence learning we have done as part of the Asialink program would have been a huge help!

LinkedIn profile: https://au.linkedin.com/in/sallyhasler


David Sweeting is the Urbanisation Advisor for Save the Children Australia one of Australia's largest agencies dedicated to helping children in need. David has worked extensively across the Asia-Pacific having supported social and infrastructure projects for the low-income urban communities in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh. In 2012, David founded Tambuna Art Project, a collective that promotes emerging artists in Asia-Pacific. More recently he co-leads a technology start-up project with Save the Children Bangladesh called Kolorob, a service finder application for slum dwellers.

How is your current role linked to Asia?
As a technical advisor working for an international non-government agency, my role allows me to work with different partners in a variety of contexts in Asia. In Bangladesh, for example, I am co-leading a technology start-up project in Dhaka called Kolorob – a service finder for low-income neighbourhoods - through collaborative design with local residents, universities, local businesses, government services and the city government.

More recently, I am co-leading the development of different analytical tools for our organisation to improve our understanding of urbanisation in Asia to inform program design and improve impact and scalability in the context of different Asian cities. On this particular multi-country project, I am working with colleagues in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China and Bangladesh, as well as with research partners in the U.S.

What do you expect to get from the Asialink Leaders Program?
In addition to gaining invaluable networks across professions and knowledge from experts on Asia-Australia relations, I anticipate to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of leadership qualities, skills and expertise requisite to be an effective and culturally aware professional working in Asia.

Furthermore, by way of interacting and exchanging ideas with fellow Asialink leaders, I hope the experience will catalyse new ideas of mutual interest amongst leaders, in turn leading to new business partnerships and opportunities for social entrepreneurship between Australia and Asia.

How do you think you and your organisation can make a stronger contribution to relations with Asia?
From my organisation’s perspective, there is much we can do to help Australian and Asian citizens alike, to understand the important similarities and differences about the nature of poverty in Asia and Australia – and how we can improve the measures and means to capturing information and developing appropriate government and business responses. Australia is majority urban (over 80%) and Asia is trending on a similar development trajectory with an emerging middle class due to the direct link between urbanization and income growth. This will mean increased demand on supply of transport, food, education, health care and housing. Ultimately, our organisation can be a major contributor as knowledge and partnership broker and project implementer in these emerging cities, to ensure the rights of vulnerable children and families are not forgotten.

What are the key Asia capabilities that you see as important to your work?
In terms of organisational strategy, there are a few key areas important to building our Asia capabilities 1) leadership committed to an Asia focussed strategy 2) developing value propositions for Asia markets and needs of low-income communities 3) Tailored business models or program models that provides flexibility to meet the needs of our target audiences.

On an individual level, I see the importance of developing a sophisticated knowledge of the economic, political, regulatory and cultural environments in the context of achieving my organisational strategy and improving our operations in Asia. Secondly, the ability to invest, develop and maintain networks and partnerships with senior management in Asia is foundational to achieving both individual and organisational strategic goals.

Can you speak about a time when you’ve needed cultural intelligence in your work?
I feel like I need to have my cultural intelligence radar switched on every day in my line of work! Over the years of travelling and working in Asia and the Pacific, I have become acutely aware of my own strengths and weaknesses in regards to cultural capabilities. This is usually most apparent on field trips to projects in other countries. For instance, during my latest trip to Dhaka, I was privileged to work with a group of young people living in two slum areas who were testing our smartphone application, Kolorob. We also talked about the physical spaces (kiosks) that the project had upgraded as part of activating Kolorob across different sites. It was a complex project and we only had a few hours to get their feedback. In order to get the most out of our meetings, I needed a high degree of cultural intelligence.

In this situation, it was an important reminder of how cultural intelligence can impact the result of a meeting or potential partnership or even the result of a project. Without harnessing this ability, we can ignore behaviours and interests that were universal to the particular group. In this case the group consisted of young boys and girls from the local slum – and they were all interested in technology and apps. Despite our differences, we were able to connect through translated conversation and quickly became comfortable through the understanding that we had mutual interests.

LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidsweeting

For more information visit Asialink Business.

More Information

Peter Kerr

T: +61 2 9263 9611