Our Team

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.

Renee Dixson


Co-founder, Chairperson

Renee Dixson is an emerging academic and co-founder of the Forcibly Displaced People Network. More than ten years ago, they were forced to leave Ukraine.

Renee is at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, nationally and globally.

Renee advocates for intersectional policies and services to be provided to LGBTIQ+ individuals who have been uprooted from their homes to create a more just and equitable society.

Renee is leading the first organization in Australia led by LGBTIQ+ displaced people. They are building bridges to make systematic changes for LGBTIQ+ displaced people.

Mohamed Irba (مُحَمَّد)


Board Director

Mohamed Irba (مُحَمَّد) is a gay/queer leader living with HIV. He is passionate about community work, is also part of the FDPN Advisory Committee, The ACT LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council and has volunteered for over 14 years with LGBTIQ+, Environmental, and community organistions.

Mohamed brings with him experience in stakeholder engagement and HR practice. Mohamed is of Omani/Lebanese heritage, grew up in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and moved to Australia at the age of 16 as an international student.

Olga Cherniak



Olga has extensive experience working in research, policy, and the not-for-profit sector on the issues of migration, settlement, gender, and health. She holds a Master of Science in Economic Behaviour and Governance from Kassel University in Germany. 

Over the last few years, Olga has been working in the Australian migration and settlement sector, contributing to the improvement of migrant and refugee wellbeing and life in Australia. Olga also has experience working with migrant and refugee communities in several countries. These experiences have given her relevant insights into best practice and gaps that different systems might have.

Olga has worked on healthcare cultural competencies, multilingual strategic emergency communications, violence prevention frameworks and improving educational outcomes for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Olga is committed to improving the settlement outcomes for migrants and refugees in Australia, with particular focus on LGBTIQ+ displaced people. 

Lavanya Kala



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 Wolff


Board Director

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 Figueiredo


Board Director

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.