Our History


Live & Learn Environmental Education was born in the rainforests and reefs of Queensland, Australia, in 1992, helping to provide conservation programs to local schools. But, when Live & Learn volunteers found these were not leading to improved environmental outcomes, they reimagined their work to promote and deliver action-based environmental education - not just in Queensland, but further across the South Pacific.

Live & Learn’s first international program was in Solomon Islands in Marovo Lagoon, where logging and mining projects had long been resisted by local residents. Joining these efforts was the true beginning of Live & Learn. This has been symbolised in our logo. The original was drawn by an expert wood carver from Marovo Lagoon, who sketched his daughter’s hands holding a seedling after a successful timber rights hearing. This drawing encapsulated the world we wished to create: one of hope and regeneration, bringing together the land and its people.

We have continued to work towards this world. Since establishing our first international office in Solomon Islands in 1995, we have grown into a big family of 10 locally registered offices and more than 400 dedicated staff and volunteers working from the South Pacific to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

As Live & Learn has changed, so has the world we work in, as awareness and urgency over climate change and environmental issues have increased. However, we continue to work towards the world we dreamed of when we began, strengthening the connections between land, seas and people, and building partnerships to ensure this caring and nurturing work continues into the future.

Our Board

Our Board of Trustees exists to ensure good governance and financial integrity, and that Live & Learn's focus remains true to its intended purpose.
The trustees provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis.


Christian Nielsen

Executive Director Live & Learn

Christian has over 25 years experience as a development practitioner and has worked in Indonesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Maldives, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Christian lived and worked in the Pacific Islands for a decade, where he supported the establishment of Live & Learn's country programs. He has long history with the Solomon Islands and supported the Solomon Islands government delegation in international climate change negotiations.

He has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, European Union and United National Development Program on issues relating to natural resources management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental education and environmental conflict resolution. He is a Company Director of Social Entrepreneurs International, a global network bringing together social entrepreneurs.

Iris Silva Brito

Lecturer, Navitas, ACAP, School of Social Work

Iris is a Brazilian-born Australian who is passionate about social justice, human rights and equal opportunity. She currently holds a lecturing position with Navitas-ACAP School of Social Work, Sydney, NSW.

Iris brings to Live & Learn a wealth of experience in the social development, education and management areas. Her capabilities and skills in international development draw on a life-long involvement in the educational and social services sectors in the northeast of Brazil working with economically disadvantaged communities.

In addition, Iris brings experience and skills developed through her professional practice in service development, policy analysis, policy development and implementation, quality assurance, research and service evaluation in both the public and non-government sectors.

Iris holds the following Australian qualifications- BA Hons Social Work and Social Policy, Master of Business Administration and Grad. Certif. Applied Science Statistics.


John Fien

Professor of Practice, RMIT University

John Fien is Professor of Practice in the Master of Disaster, Design and Development program at RMIT University, where he teaches courses on Building Urban Resilience, Shelter and Settlement and Climate Change Adaptation. He has worked extensively with international organisations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, UNEP WWF and Live and Learn on policies and strategies for school and community education for sustainability. He specialises in Education for Sustainability and facilitated the development of the UNESCO Action Plan for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. He has led teacher education programs on Education for Sustainability in many countries in Asia as well as in South Africa and Kenya. His work focuses on leadership problems, and seeks to develop ways of clarifying and enhancing leadership for the greater good, leadership development, and leadership in a greening economy.

Radha Cumarasamy

Executive Manager Operations & Finance,
Centre of Excellence for Child & Family Welfare

A financial professional with experience in both the commercial and not for profit sectors, Radha is passionate about work supporting and improving the lives of people in disadvantaged communities and has a strong commitment to human development, poverty reduction and inclusive development. She is a strategic financial executive whose financial, operational and leadership skills positions organisations for sustainable growth to achieve its mission. Radha is a member of the Institute of Public Accounting and is currently working towards her MBA.


Ali Zaheer Haidery

Compliance and Good Practices Consultant

Ali Zaheer Haidery joined our Board in July 2018. He is an experienced Risk and Compliance Manager, with extensive financial, compliance and risk management expertise. Ali has previously worked for Live & Learn International Australia, Oxfam Australia, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and consulted for INGOs, international aid and development organisations. He is currently working as Senior Strategy & Risk Officer for the Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission (IBAC). Ali has BA Hons in Business Administration with major in Financial Management.

Alyse Mobrici

Alyse is an experienced commercial lawyer, having spent several years at two international, top-tier law firms (Herbert Smith Freehills and White & Case) and currently manages the Corporate Team at the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria. She has a long standing commitment to volunteer and community based initiatives, including with Justice Connect and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative. She received her Master of Laws from Melbourne University (graduated with First Class Honours) in 2017 and also has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science from La Trobe University. Alyse’s previous board experience includes several years on the board of a not-for-profit organisation providing community members with access to specialist training and equipment for community and personal home and garden improvement projects.


Sam Mackay

Sam is a proven leader in designing and delivering international development initiatives, with a focus on innovation, partnership and action learning. Sam has considerable experience in the areas of public policy, institutional change and collaborative governance, where he has worked with more than ten countries in the Asia Pacific region to advise on complex issues associated with climate change, sustainable development and natural resource management. Sam is Head of Practice - Climate Action and Executive Director of The Climate Ready Initiative at Griffith University. In this role he leads a number of partnership initiatives with government (federal, state, regional and local), private companies, development partners and communities to support effective climate change adaptation and risk management. Sam is committed to just and equitable development and the need to protect the condition of our environment, given its important function in human health, wellbeing and livelihood.

From time to time Live & Learn has opportunities to work as part of our team.
We operate a non-discriminatory employment process and working environment.

We also have volunteering opportunities in our Melbourne office, and in our network field offices.
If you are interested in volunteering please send us an email.