Our Hosts

CEO, Cufa

Peter Mason has been the CEO of international development agency Cufa for the last twelve years. Cufa’s programs focus on economic development of underserved and disadvantaged communities across the Asia Pacific region. Cufa works through multiple approaches including education, employment, enterprise, and financial institution development. This work is carried out by local Cufa offices and country staff who work with local communities, institutions, and governments.

Peter has worked in Cambodia, Timor Leste, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Federated States of Micronesia. His research interests include examining the way in which social and the economic interact within the development environment and he has recently published a chapter, Credit Unions in Routledge’s Alternative Organisations.

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Our Guests


Manuel Renteria is a Team Leader for Carers Queensland with a Bachelor in Agricultural Engineering and a Masters in Agricultural Development. He was born in Colombia during the armed conflict between the government, guerilla groups, crime syndicates and paramilitary groups. Before relocating to Australia, He worked for 8 years as a Project Coordinator for the Development and Peace Corporation of Magdalena Medio (CDPMM) in Colombia. Some of his areas of expertise include culture, health, poverty, human right violations and regional conflict.

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Nigel Spence is a Research to Practice Associate at the Institute for Global Development at the University of New South Wales. He is currently completing a PhD investigating the influence of international organisations on child protection policy in Vietnam. Nigel recently completed 14years as CEO of ChildFund Australia overseeing child-focused development programs in the Asia-Pacific region. He also contributed to the wider international development sector and in 2019 was awarded the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Outstanding Contribution to the Sector Award. Previously, Nigel was CEO of the NSW Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA). His early career was as a child welfare social worker in Australia and the UK.

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Dr Michael Spann is a Founding Director of Square Circle which is a global development consulting company headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. Working at the intersection of theory and practice, Square Circle offers services in leadership and policy; governance; institutional strengthening; program design and management; digital storytelling; research; monitoring and evaluation; and conflict, peace and development. Square Circle works with a diverse range of clients and stakeholders throughout the Indo-Pacific and puts an emphasis on sustainable and inclusive development. Dr Spann also lectures in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland on global development, political economy and Indo-Pacific security.

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Nicole Stanmore is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Australia, an international NGO that works in partnership with volunteers, corporate partners and families to provide appropriate housing solutions in sustainable communities. Prior to joining Habitat, Nicole held senior positions at the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and at Good Return, an international development agency providing microfinance and financial literacy. Nicoles is a lawer by training, has an MBA from Cambridge University in the UK and is originally from Santiago, Chile.

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