SEAM has an Advisory Committee of people with broad experience of Melanesia, development, literacy, art and the needs of remote communities. It also comprises people with specialist experience that will assist with the development of SEAM.


Dr. Katherine Lepani is an anthropologist and long-term resident of Papua New Guinea, where she has extensive community-based and public sector work experience in gender, development, primary health care and theatre arts. She completed her PhD in Anthropology at the Australian National University in February 2008.

She is currently a Senior Research Associate in the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. Her book Islands of Love, Islands of Risk: Culture and HIV in the Trobriands (2012) explores the interface between biomedical and cultural models of sexuality, risk, and disease, arguing for the importance of community engagement in responding to the HIV epidemic.

Her connection to PNG and the Trobriand Islands is strengthened by her marriage to HE Charles W Lepani, PNG High Commissioner to Australia. They have three children.

I’m already thinking about helping to realize a Schoolmate project in the Trobriands. There is such a need for a community repository of the massive amount of literature on the Trobriands but also a vital space for learning and creative projects.
— Katherine Lepani, SEAM Advisory Committee


Martha Macintyre is an anthropologist, currently the editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology. She is an honorary Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and has undertaken research in Papua New Guinea since 1979. She worked as a consultant on AusAID projects in Papua New Guinea. A board member of the International Women’s Development for several years, she is deeply committed to improving educational opportunities in Papua New Guinea. She has published extensively on women and gender in Melanesia. Her publications include Women Miners in Developing Countries: Pit Women and Others, co-edited with K. Lahiri-Dutt (2006) and Patterson, M. and M. Macintyre, eds (2011) Managing Modernity in the Western Pacific. University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.             


Russell Soaba is PNG’s leading writer. His novel Wanpis was published in 1977, Maiba in 1985. His poetry collections include Naked Thoughts (1978) and Kwamra: A season of harvest (2000). He teaches literature and writing at the University of  Papua New Guinea, and is the editor of the Aunki Country Press. Soabasstoryboard is an influential blog and commentary.


Mark Rubbo is the Managing Director of Readings, an independent bookseller based in Melbourne. He is a past President of the Australian Booksellers Association and founding chair of the Melbourne Writers Festival. He is also a member of the board of The Wheeler Centre. In 2006 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for “service to the community through fostering an awareness of Australian literature as a bookseller, literary critic, and promoter and supporter of Australian writers.” In 2009, he established The Readings Foundation which assists organisations that support the development of literacy, community integration and the arts.

In April 2015 I visited PNG with Drusilla and Stephen to see first hand the people and the place they had become so passionate about; it’s hard to explain why, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. These people face such great challenges in terms of access to education, health and to so many of the services we take for granted yet they remain cheerful, resilient, proud and resourceful. To be of help in giving them the tools to acquire the skills and education to equip them for a dignified life in this world is a great privilege.
— Mark Rubbo


Genevieve Nelson is one of KTF’s founding directors and has been CEO since 2009. She holds a Doctorate in Cross-cultural and Educational Psychology from the University of Western Sydney and is an expert in PNG education. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow with ACU and has published extensively. She was named one of the top 100 Women of Influence by Westpac and AFR in 2013. She has trekked Kokoda 19 times.


Prior to arriving in PNG in 2010, Roxanne Martens worked with children with a disability. During her three-year stay based in Port Moresby, Roxanne worked primarily with the PNG Cancer Foundation, the Port Moresby General Hospital Special Care Nursery and was a founding member of the Safe Motherhood Alliance (SMALL) PNG.  Since returning to Australia, Roxanne stays connected to the country she came to love by sponsoring the young writers’ award through the Crocodile Literary Prize, working as mentor with the KTF Archer scholarship program, and maintaining her links with SMALL PNG.

As I travelled throughout PNG, I saw for myself the extreme challenges faced by many Papua New Guineans living in the more remote provinces PNG. Education is a much-prized resource, not one easily accessed by more than half the population. I am excited to be a part of a team that is bringing a simple, sustainable and cost-effective solution to the issue of a lack of higher and adult education to communities in some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the world.
— Roxanne Martens


Hilary McPhee was a founding director of McPhee Gribble Publishers and Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts and of the Major Organizations Board 1994-7, a founding director and editor of online political newsletter New Matilda.

After a long stint in the Middle East, I first visited Oro Province and Collingwood Bay with Drusilla early in 2011. The Arab Spring had just exploded. After a week in the villages in fiord country hearing from families and teachers anxious that their kids’ education happen close to home for as long as possible rather than in the towns, I was hooked. Next, a few days in Port Moresby glimpsing its wealthy gated communities and camps of dispossessed village people desperate for any opportunity - the parallels were striking. SEAM is a small way I can help.

— Hilary McPhee