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 Institute, ACAP Discipline of Social Work

Iris Silva Brito is a Navitas-ACAP Discipline of Social Work lecturer in Melbourne. She advocates for international development, social justice, and equal opportunity. Originally from Brazil, Iris has passionately dedicated her career to effecting positive change on a global scale.

Iris is a valued member of the Editorial Board of Editora Via Literarum, an active member of Grapiuna Academy of Arts and Letters, and holds a well-recognized membership in the Australia Association of Social Workers, underscoring her dedication to advancing social work principles internationally.

In addition to her advocacy efforts, Iris contributes to Live and Learn Environmental Education. Her international perspective, coupled with Australian qualifications including a BA Hons in Social Work and Social Policy, an MBA, and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Science Statistics, uniquely positions Iris as a pivotal contributor to the global-minded initiatives.


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

Chief Financial Officer, The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia Limited

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 has a Master of Business Administration.


Ali Zaheer Haidery

Compliance and Good Practices Consultant

Ali joined our Board in July 2018. He is an experienced Risk Manager, with extensive financial, audit and risk management expertise. Ali has previously worked for Live & Learn Environmental Education, Oxfam Australia, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and consulted for INGOs, international aid and development organisations.

He is currently working as Director Strategy & Risk at Victoria Government. Ali has BA Hons in Business Administration with major in Financial Management and is currently pursuing MBA at Melbourne Business School.

Sam Mackay

Program Manager, Griffith Climate Change Response

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.


Jonathan Statham

Senior Associate Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers

Jonathan is an experienced lawyer and currently manages the family law and personal violence team at Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers, one of Canberra’s oldest law firms. Jonathan has a longstanding commitment to volunteer and community-based initiatives, including the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, St Vincent De Paul, Queanbeyan Junior Brass, and Easts Rugby Union Football Club.

Jonathan holds an Arts/Law degree and Masters of International Relations degree from the University of Wollongong. Jonathan is part Australian and Tongan and spent his early years in Suva Fiji where he completed his high school education at a local school. Jonathan has a strong connection to the pacific and has as conversational grasp of the Tongan language. Jonathan is excited to apply his friendly, pragmatic, legal, and plain-speaking skills to Live & Learn International.

Maithili Parthasarathy

Financial Reporting and Analysis Manager, Monash University

Maithili, an experienced finance professional and a member of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, is passionate about being part of endeavours that strive to create positive change and enhance the well-being of our communities.

Maithili has worked in diverse industries, including International NGO, state government, and the higher education sector. Maithili’s keen analytical skills and strategic financial insights exemplify commitment to ensuring sound financial stewardship and transparency, thereby contributing towards the organization achieving its mission.


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.