Board of Directors
Most of the Board of Directors of the Forcibly Displaced People Network are people with the lived experience of LGBTIQ+ forced displacement.
Get in touch with our Board.
Co-founder, Acting Chair
Since 2004 Renee Dixson has been working as a human rights defender at the international and national levels. As a result of visible work, they were forced to leave the country where they lived.
The process of settling down in Australia and their position as an outsider and insider have given them an opportunity to see how discourses shaped stories around LGBTIQ and refugee communities.
Currently, Renee Dixson is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University. In their PhD research, Renee is building the first in the world queer digital archive of oral histories about LGBTIQ forced displacement.
Renee continues their work as an emerging academic and activist by trying to build bridges and make a systematic change to support LGBTIQ displaced people.
Danijel Malbasa has been working as an employment and workplace relations lawyer for over 12 years. Prior to joining Australia’s largest blue collar trade union where he works as a Senior National Legal Officer, he worked in corporate law firms in Adelaide, Perth, and Melbourne. He holds degrees in Law, International Relations and Masters in Law (Employment Law and Workplace Relations). He is admitted as a Solicitor and Barrister in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and in the High Court of Australia.
Since 2009, driven by personal experience of living through multiple wars and spending several years living in a refugee camp, Danijel has been working on various initiatives to better support people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia.
This included participating in the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Advocacy and Power Program in 2010 aimed at empowering people with a lived experience to become advocates. He volunteered as a Migration Agent and Solicitor at various community legal centres, such as Refugee Legal Inc., assisting people seeking asylum to complete their protection visas.
His advocacy on forced displacement has been published in The Age, The Guardian, and in three books of short stories published in 2021 aimed at humanising the refugee experience. He served on the advisory committee for the National Refugee-led Advocacy and Advisory Committee (NRAAG). Danijel is now particularly focused on addressing the plight of LGBTIQ+ refugees and displaced people in Australia.
Lavanya Kala is an experienced policy and government relations professional. She has a Bachelor’s in Communications (Social Inquiry) from the University of Technology Sydney and extensive knowledge of social policy, politics and not-for-profit management. Lavanya has particular expertise in migration, human rights and gender equity issues. In June 2018, Lavanya was selected as one of only two civil society representatives to attend the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She has also contributed to the 70th Session of CEDAW. Lavanya is a proud feminist, giving her time to a number of not-for-profits in the past decade aimed at supporting women and girls, including Mahboba’s Promise, the National Committee for UN Women and the Harmony Alliance – Migrant and Refugee Women for Change. Lavanya currently serves as on the Board of Directors at Beryl Women Inc. in Canberra, Australia’s longest operating women’s refuge, and is a Director at Forcibly Displaced People Network (FDPN).
Lotte has experience working in research, NGOs, international organisations and the private sector on public policy issues including migration, human rights and public health. She has a Master of Development Studies and has worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, contributing to ethical decision-making and culture change within the organisation.
She has conducted research into the refugee status determination process in the Netherlands and Australia and how decision-makers privilege queer identities according to heterosexist, cis, white, settler-colonial and Western norms. Lotte continues to pursue her academic interests at the intersections of postcolonial, gender and queer theory, and migration governance.
Ryan is the founder and Executive Director of Equal Asia Foundation – a regional LGBTIQ+ non-profit think-tank and innovations incubator based in Bangkok. Equal AF’s work is focused on future scoping and future-proofing around issues such as ageing, climate change, mental health, and financial citizenship for LGBTIQ+ communities in Asia.
Ryan has worked in the non-profit and management consulting space for over 18 years. At Equal AF, Ryan leads regional and national multi-specialisation initiatives that address some of the deep-seated inequities in the LGBTIQ+ movement. In 2018, Ryan was selected as one of the Human Rights Campaigns Global Innovators. In 2019, Thomson Reuters Foundation named him a Global Changemaker for his work. In 2020, he was recognised as a Global Change accelerator by the Resource Alliance. Ryan sits on a number of International LGBTIQ+ advisory and mentorship groups.
Ryan is a formerly displaced person and is now deputy chair of the women, gender and diversity working group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. He is an alumnus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and has trained in clinical trials at the London School of Tropical Medicine, and in population ageing at the University of Oxford.