Keynote speakers

Read about the line-up of inspiring keynote speakers below:

Prof Chris Roche

More about Institute for Human Security and Social Change:


Chris is Professor of Development Practice at La Trobe University where he is also the Director of the Institute for Human Security and Social Change. Chris is also Deputy Director (Impact) of the Developmental Leadership Program, an international research program which explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development, and co-led DLP’s work on Gender and Politics in Practice.  Prior to joining La Trobe in 2012 Chris worked for over 25 years for International NGOs as a project manager, evaluator, policy researcher and as a director.

Chris is particularly interested in understanding the practice of social change processes and how those involved might be more effectively supported.  He is the author of Impact Assessment for Development Agencies: Learning to Value Change, and co-editor of  Ethical Questions and International NGOs, and The Politics of Evidence and Results in International Development: Playing the Game to Change the Rules.

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Ralph Regenvanu

Ralph Regenvanu has been the Leader of the Opposition in Vanuatu since a change in Government after the March 2020 general elections. He is currently serving his fourth term as the Member of Parliament for Port Vila. He has held a number of Ministerial portfolios over time, including as Vanuatu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2017 until April 2020.

Ralph has a background in cultural heritage management and served as Director of the National Museum of Vanuatu from 1995 until 2006. Ralph was Co-chair of the National Sustainable Development Plan Core Group which was responsible for developing Vanuatu’s ‘National Sustainable Development Plan 2016-2030’ which was launched in early 2017.

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Kitty van der Heijden

Kitty van der Heijden is the Director-General for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. She previously held several positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including Ambassador for Sustainable Development and Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals. Besides her work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kitty has worked as Vice President, Director Africa and Europe at the World Resources Institute; Senior advisor UN Reform at the UNDP and as Deputy Head of Social and Economic Affairs at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, New York.

In 2016 Kitty was elected nr #5 of the Netherlands’ Top 100 Leaders in Sustainability. Outside of her work, she enjoys cooking, kick-boxing, nature walks and spending time with her family