Asialink Leaders First Nations Fellowship – 2022 Fellow Announcement

Asialink is proud to announce the recipient of the 2022 Asialink Leaders Program First Nations Fellowship. Congratulations to Ms Melanie Harris, Trade Commissioner to Malaysia & Brunei, Australian Trade & Investment Commission (Austrade).

Melanie Harris headshot
Ms Melanie Harris, Asialink Leaders 2022 First Nations Fellow


Melanie is Austrade’s first female Indigenous Trade and Investment Commissioner, and from her base in Kuala Lumpur, develops Australia’s trade, investment and education relationships with Malaysia and Brunei. In her role, she champions First Nations businesses, enabling a greater number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander companies to become ‘export-ready’ and internationalise their business.

Established in 2020, this First Nations Fellowship recognises the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders cultures in Australia, home to the oldest continuous cultures on earth. Indigenous cultures can provide an important bridge and strengthen connections between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. This Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding applicant with abilities and ambitions related to Asia engagement to participate in the Asialink Leaders Program, Australia’s flagship program for developing Asia capability in Australia.

Melanie, a proud Yuin woman from the south coast of New South Wales, brings extensive experience in Southeast Asia to the Program. As part of her responsibilities as a Trade and Investment Commissioner, she leads Austrade’s regional health sector team, developing greater collaboration and partnerships between ASEAN nations and Australia’s health industry. Her over-16 years’ experience at Austrade has allowed her to develop skills in business capability development across local, state and federal government levels.

Melanie intends to utilise her Fellowship to harness the potential of Indigenous businesses and develop real outcomes for Indigenous businesses seeking commercial opportunities in Asia. She says in doing so, “Indigenous exporters and the communities in which they live will develop more Asia capability as well as increase international sales”.

We congratulate Melanie on her Fellowship and look forward to welcoming her into the 2022 Asialink Leaders Program.

Find out more about the Asialink Leaders First Nations Fellowship