Australian Capital Territory

ACT Executive Committee

ACT Executive Committee 2018-19

Brian Gleeson: President

Brian was elected as President ACT Division UNAA on 4 September 2018 after four years as a Board Member of the National body of UNAA.

Brian is currently an international consultant who is currently working in PNG has just completed an assignment with the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia. Brian completed a two-year contract as the Director of Human Resources UNRWA in Amman Jordan and was responsible for the oversight, leadership and management of all human resources policies and practices in Headquarters and the five Field Offices – Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. UNRWA has over 30,000 national (Area) staff and around 200 international staff.

Brian has had over fifty years of experience in the Australian Public Service and international development, working with and for most UN agencies for over fifteen years, including has head of the UN in Libya, setting up UN Women, working directly with five Heads of UN agencies and a previous Secretary-General as Senior Adviser in transition teams and change management.

His last position (2009 to 2014) in the Australian Public Service was the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services – a statutory position responsible for oversight of the Remote Service Delivery program in support of improving the quality of life of Indigenous Australians in designated remote communities around Australia.

Jonathan Curtis: Immediate Past President

Jonathan brings to the UNAA a particular interest in the areas of international institutional governance and international responses to transnational serious and organised crime.

He currently leads the Research Branch in the Australian Parliament. His previous roles have included positions in the criminal justice and national security areas of Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, Senate Committees and the Department of Defence.  Jonathan has also been a member of several Australian government delegations to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Laws (University of Tasmania), Master of International Law (ANU), and a Master of Public Policy (ANU) and is a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the ACT. Additionally, Jonathan represents the ACT Board Member of the UNAA National Board.

Harold Wilkinson: Vice President (Membership)

Harold Wilkinson comes to the UNAA with a particular focus on development issues having started out his professional career with a PhD in agricultural science.  He spent three years working for the Quaker United Nations Office at the UN in New York on youth-related issues, one of which was the start of the United Nations Volunteer Program.  Harold was subsequently on the board of the Freedom From Hunger campaign and the Christian World Service arm of the National Council of Churches.

Harold has been involved with the UNAA since 1978 and has served on the Federal Executive in several different positions including President and Vice President.  Currently, Harold is the Vice President of UNAA (ACT).

Jenna Allen: Vice President

Jenna Allen is humbled to have served the UNAA since 2016, including as Convenor for the National Conference titled ‘ Enhancing Australia’s Support to Global Peace and Security: Seventy Years On’ in 2017. Proudly hailing from the Big Sky country of Montana, Jenna moved to Australia to participate in the Australian National Internship Program at the Australian National University focused on researching women’s political engagement in Australia.

In 2014, she completed a Bachelors of Government at The University of Texas in 2014 with a focus on classical political theory and philosophy. In 2016, Jenna completed a Masters of Diplomacy with Merit at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University in 2016. Her academic background has led to a passionate interest in the role of identity in governance and conflict. Jenna is currently pursuing a second Masters of Communications and Journalism through the University of New South.

She has worked as a teaching assistant focusing on the Asia-Pacific region within the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University and is an Editorial Assistant for LexisNexis within the Australian Parliamentary Press Gallery since 2016. Jenna is also a member of the World Ocean Council’s Young Ocean Professionals and has a strong interest in the role of resources in peace and security.

Nick Flack: Vice President

Nick currently works as a public servant in Canberra with a strong interest in international relations and development. He combines his past experience in event management and public affairs to support the Committee in its communications and outreach activities.

Frances Stanton: Treasurer

Frances brings to the UNAA interests in furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals through partnerships in the community.

She currently leads the compliance & assurance function at Airservices Australia promoting good governance in the aviation industry and is a Governance Institute of Australia Fellow. Her previous roles revolved around business intelligence and improvement, quality auditing and certification in various industries from the public sector to pharmaceuticals. She has also previously taught English in China and the Philippines.

She is a member of Mensa and is actively involved in the community through Rotary, Rotaract and the Red Cross and has been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for Service to the Community.

Frances holds an MBA, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Research, is a qualified Quality Auditor and has undergone studies in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. She also attended the Asian Intensive School of Advanced Management (Penang) to pursue her interests in International Business and Logistics & Supply Chain Management.

Cameron Wickham: Secretary

Cameron is currently a public servant at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. He has been with UNAA ACT since 2014, interning with the National Office in 2015.

Cameron holds a Bachelor of Arts (honours) from the Australian National University. His honours thesis focused on the role of norms in reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Cameron also volunteers with the St Vincent de Paul Society, serving as the secretary of the youth services programs for the ACT.

John Tilemann: Executive Member

A former Australian diplomat, and one time Chief of Staff to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency based in Vienna, Austria. Since leaving the foreign ministry in 2015 John has worked as a consultant on countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  His current commitments include online training on multilateral diplomacy for UNITAR, and outreach in Asia on strategic exports controls for the US State Department. He is a member and research director of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network on Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN).



Hangama Obaidullah: Executive Member

Hangama came to Australia from Afghanistan as a refugee in August 2003. At that time she spoke no English, but in October that year, she began her English language studies and rapidly completed 500 hours. She enrolled as a mature age student at St Mary’s Senior High School, Sydney, NSW, graduating with her Higher School Certificate in 2009. She received an Award for Excellence, Major Works, and a Commendation Award for her HSC body of artwork.

Since arriving in Australia, Hangama has developed her art practice in painting, drawing, photography and writing. She moved to Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory in 2010 where she is currently studying for a Bachelor of Writing at University of Canberra. Hangama’s work has been exhibited in group shows and displayed in a variety of public venues in Canberra and Sydney.

Hangama’s work draws on her Afghani heritage, her homeland and its history. She espouses an aesthetic and philosophy of beauty, grace and community service. Her goal is to assist other Afghani women and children through her visual arts practice and her writing.

Nimalan  Karthikeyan: Executive Member

Nimalan joined the UNAA ACT board in September 2017. Currently, he works as a public service contractor and private security industry professional, and is a post graduate candidate at the University of Sydney.

In April 2018, Nimalan completed a 20 months role as strategic advisor and coordinating secretary to the Office of Chief Minister, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It was focused on post war transition initiatives relating to local government (including international twinning programs), law and order, women-affairs, industrial development and investment, tourism, cooperatives and centre-periphery cooperation.

Nimalan has over 30 years of experience consisting of commercial, not-for-profit, intergovernmental (UN), and public sectors. He has a MBA from University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK.4

Michele Smith: Executive Member

Michele has a Bachelor of Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Resource and Environmental Management from the Australian National University. She has spent twenty years as a policy adviser in the public sector. Michele recognises the need to transform our economy and lifestyles to be more responsible. She believes that the protection and regeneration of the biosphere are paramount and has diverse experience in thinking creatively about grassroots solutions to our global ecological predicament.  Together with over five years involvement with the UNAA in Canberra, Michele is presently engaged with a number of community and environment organisations including Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation; Oxfam; Social, Economic and Environmental Change (SEE Change); Greening Australia; Canberra City Farm; the ANU Food Coop; and campaigning for action on climate change.

Peter Thompson: Executive Member

Want to be involved with UNAA ACT?

Members who are interested in being involved are very welcome to attend executive meetings, which are typically held on the evening of the third Wednesday of every month. Please contact the Secretary via for details.