Meet the diverse and accomplished group of professionals behind the School of Policy and Governance.
Chandrakanth B N
Chandra is a passionate creator with an empathetic business sense and an entrepreneur who left a high flying career in the US, to chase an Indian dream. He has been involved in establishing several companies since 1996. His ventures have ranged from IT Services, Digital Media operations, Manufacturing and Training. As the Chairman of Pairee, he oversees several investments made by the company.
Prior to Pairee, Chandra was the Founder and Managing Director of Theorem India, which he started with just two people in 2002 and grew it to over 1300+ people globally spread across 4 continents, serving several global blue chip brands and establishing a sprawling campus in Mysore before leaving at the end of 2013.
Chandra also enjoys investing, advising and mentoring start-up companies and is on the board of a several such companies. He is also passionate about giving back to the society. His Pairee Foundation is helping educate the rural youth of India and making them job ready.
Chandra holds a Masters degree in Industrial Management from Northern Illinois University, Chicago and a BE degree from Bangalore University. He is a leading voice in the IT Industry and regularly speaks at global conferences. He is also an active member of various industry groups in the technology world. Chandra and his work regularly feature on national and regional TV channels.
Monika Barthwal-Datta is Senior Lecturer in International Security in the School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. Before joining UNSW in 2012, Monika was a MacArthur Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for International Security Studies (CISS), University of Sydney, where she led a two-year research project on ‘Food Security in Asia: Strategic Risks and Mitigation.’ Her research areas include critical security studies, non-traditional security, the international politics of South Asia and Indian foreign policy.
Monika was awarded her PhD by Royal Holloway and Bedford College, University of London and holds an MScEcon in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University. She also has a Master’s in International Journalism from Cardiff University and has worked as a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC World Service Radio in London for several years.
Since making Sydney her home in late 2010, Monika has been actively involved in the Australia-India space through her research and community engagement. Monika was a Director and a Steering Committee member of the Australia India Youth Dialogue. She is also on the Executive Committee of the South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASAA) and on the editorial board of the journal Asian Studies Review.
Monika is the author of ‘Understanding Security Practices in South Asia: Securitization Theory and the Role of Non-State Actors’ (Routledge 2012) and ‘Food Security in Asia: Challenges, Policies and Implications’ (IISS and Routledge, 2014), and has spoken at TEDx Orange (NSW, Australia) on the role of small family farms in global food security.
Preethi Herman is the Global Executive Director of the Change.org Foundation and an Obama Foundation Fellow for global civic leadership. She established Change.org as a people’s platform in India – growing it from a user base of less than 2 lakh users to a current 1 crore active citizens taking action on various social change issues across the country. Under Preethi’s lead, the Change.org India team has brought several issues into national headlines and made it into a movement touching the lives of millions of Indians.
Preethi is one of the few women leaders from the Global South at the forefront of the civic technology. She has been recognised as one among the 50 most influential women in media (in India) by Impact Media in 2016 and again in 2017, was awarded Business Today’s Most Powerful Women Award in India in 2017 and was recognized by the Indian Government as one of the 25 women transforming India through the UN’s #WomenTransform initiative.
At the heart of Preethi’s vision is enabling the power for people coming together to create change and leveraging technology in a decentralised structure of civil leadership. She has helped set up powerful civic and campaigning based organisations like ‘She Creates Change’ and ‘Campaign Academy India’ and serves on the boards of various Indian and International organisations.
Ruchir is a Co-Founder & Chief Digital Officer at Distributed Energy (www.de.energy). Distributed Energy matches investors with renewable energy projects across Africa, the Middle East, and India.
Ruchir formerly founded Langoor (www.langoor.com) – one of APAC’s largest independent digital agencies that were later sold to Havas Group in 2019. Langoor started in his living room in Sydney before growing to 200+ people digital agency across the Asia Pacific. He continues to be a Board Director and Evangelist for the business.
Passionate about social change, Ruchir has started a number of social and not for profit organizations. After the International student crisis in Australia in 2010, Ruchir created the Australia India Youth Dialogue, a Track II diplomatic dialogue between the young leaders of Australia and India. Ruchir is also the Founder of a School of Policy and Governance and Samarthan India.
Ruchir is a Computer Science graduate from Sydney University and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He serves as Director on a number of not for profit and business Boards, including investing in some of them.
Vidyanand Sagaram joined the Victorian Government Business Office in 2009 to head their Skilled and Business Migration portfolio for South and South East Asia. In 2011 he was appointed as the Director for Strategic Projects with a primary focus on the whole-of Victorian government initiatives. To deliver the key initiatives and priorities of the government he has been engaging very closely with the Indian governments both State and Federal, industry groups and various Victorian departments.
Vidya was also the Director for the Australia India Youth Dialogue which hosts young leaders from Australia and India at an annual conference, held in India and Australia in alternate years.
He is currently on the Executive Council of the Indo Australian Chamber of Commerce.
Vidya has previously worked for La Trobe University in India heading their operations for South Asia, prior to that with Hobsons Solutions and Telstra in Melbourne. He holds a Master’s degree from Monash University, Melbourne.
Sanushka Seomangal is a Special Counsel in Thomson Geer’s Sydney office where she specialises in equity capital markets. With particular expertise in public and private equity fundraising, initial public offerings (IPOs), and mergers and acquisitions involving both private and listed companies, Sanushka also advises her clients on general corporate matters. Sanushka’s practice is largely cross-border with an Asia-focus and she has expertise in capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the PRC, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India. Amongst her professional achievements, Sanushka was a finalist at the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards 2015.
Sanushka holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Natal, South Africa, a Master of Applied Law from the University of Queensland, Australia and a Master of Business Law from the University of Sydney, Australia.
Sanushka has a particular interest in India and is a director of the Australia India Youth Dialogue and the former Chair of the Australia India Business Council NSW Young Professionals Chapter. She is also a member of Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation of Giving.
Manu is a lawyer practicing at the Madras High Court and is also a Media Spokesperson for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.
He has rich experience in the field of public policy after working as a Parliamentary Advisor for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for 5 years.
In November 2010, Manu was a Fellow of the ‘Legislative Fellows Program’ organized by the US State Department. In July 2013, Manu was invited to participate in the ‘European Union Visitor Program’, with fellowships in Brussels, Strassbourg and The Hague.
Manu has run tech-based outreach campaigns to engage citizens on civic issues and study participatory governance models.
Rishi Suri is a senior editor covering international affairs at The Daily Milap, India’s oldest and largest circulated Urdu daily newspaper. He is an internationally recognized journalist known for his strong views and opinions on global politics and diplomacy.
Rishi is one of the select few certified diplomatic correspondents by the Ministry of External Affairs in India and has been part of various international delegations and programs like the International Visitor Leadership program run by the State Department of the United States of America.
Apart from being a Fellow (Media) with the Australia India Council and a Chevening Scholar in 2013, he has also served on the boards of various international organizations.