To maximise our effectiveness as an agricultural research-for-development agency, ACIAR builds and maintains partnerships with in-country agencies and organisations.
ACIAR has 10 Country Offices throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Staff located throughout the region make up the ACIAR Country Network, which develops and maintains the strategic directions of our investments with in-country partner agencies. The network also manages relationships, communication, coordination and administration of activities within the countries in which our offices are located, and in neighbouring countries where we have no representative office.
The Country Network also supports partner research institutions to develop, establish and administer activity related to research collaboration and capacity building. Our Country Network is a vital link between Australian and international researchers and the relevant in-country research agencies.
Many of our country partnerships are undergoing rapid change as local research capacity grows. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the ability of our partner agencies to participate in research collaboration. Both of these circumstances have created an imperative for our Country Network to renegotiate relationships for when our partner agencies emerge from the pandemic crisis. Throughout 2021–22, and for the duration of the pandemic, the network will continue to monitor and manage 3 distinct phases in our relationships with partner countries and in-country agencies:
Our partner countries are moving through these phases at very different rates and with highly variable degrees of control and management of risk. The pandemic is surging through second, third and fourth waves in some countries. Our Country Network has upskilled in partnership brokering and knowledge management so that, when our partner agencies are ready to re-engage, we will have the necessary skills, tools and plans in place so that re-engagement can happen as quickly as possible.
At a broader scale, Australia’s development support to the Indo-Pacific has pivoted to address the urgent and emerging challenges of COVID-19. DFAT’s Partnerships for recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 development response outlines 3 areas of core action:
- health security
- economic recovery.
The work of ACIAR falls primarily into the third action area. During 2020, we examined food systems in the Indo-Pacific region to identify vulnerabilities that were exposed or amplified by the COVID-19 shock. Our findings were reported in COVID-19 and food systems in the Indo-Pacific: An assessment of vulnerabilities, impacts and opportunities for action (ACIAR Technical Report 96). Food systems assessments were undertaken at 5 locations: Pacific island countries, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Indonesia and the Philippines. The information will be used to inform future research and development to support food systems resilience in the Indo-Pacific region.
Depending on ongoing restrictions and responsibilities of partner agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during 2021–22 we plan to confirm new long-term partnership strategies with Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Laos and Pakistan.
ACIAR Country Offices
ACIAR Country Network staff are located in the offices of Australian high commissions or embassies in the following countries:
- Fiji (regional office)
- Papua New Guinea
- East and South-East Asia
- Laos (regional office)
- South Asia
- India (regional office)
- Eastern and Southern Africa
- Kenya (regional office).
* ACIAR staff are located in Myanmar but the location is a remote site of the regional office in Laos, not an ACIAR Country Office.
ACIAR regional and country managers
Ms Mai Alagcan
Regional Manager, Pacific and Papua New Guinea
Ms Mai Alagcan, formerly ACIAR Country Manager in the Philippines, will move to Fiji to take up the role of Regional Manager, Pacific and Papua New Guinea. Before joining ACIAR, Mai was a Senior Program Officer on the Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Program for DFAT at the Australian Embassy in Manila. Mai also has worked in the Philippine public sector and has extensive professional and management experience on program development, policy analysis and monitoring and evaluation in the agriculture and fisheries sector. Mai has a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics from the University of the Philippines and a postgraduate certificate in regional development planning from the School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Philippines and Technical University of Dortmund in Germany.
Ms Doreen Iga
Country Manager, Papua New Guinea
Ms Doreen Iga is based in Port Moresby. She has more than 20 years experience with environmental non-government organisations, AusAID programs, international non-government organisations in Papua New Guinea and DFAT. Before joining ACIAR in August 2019, Doreen worked with DFAT from 2013 and managed a portfolio of programs in the governance, civil society and education sectors. She has a Bachelor of Arts in physical geography and environmental science from the University of Papua New Guinea and a Master of Development Studies from the University of Auckland.
East and South-East Asia
Ms Dulce Carandang Simmanivong
Regional Manager, East and South-East Asia
Ms Dulce Carandang Simmanivong is based in Vientiane and is responsible for strategic oversight of the Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar country programs. Before joining ACIAR in 2015, Dulce managed the rural development portfolio of AusAID/DFAT for 6 years, working across sectors including financial inclusion, social protection, non-government organisation cooperation, mine action and rural livelihoods. Previously, she worked in program management positions with the UN and civil society organisations, including a farmers’ alliance. Dulce’s past work took her across north and South-East Asia. She earned both her degrees – a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) and a Master of Industrial/ Organisational Psychology – at Ateneo de Manila University.
Mr Wang Guanglin
Country Manager, China
Mr Wang Guanglin is based in Beijing. He joined ACIAR in 1998 and became ACIAR Country Manager for China in 2011. Before joining ACIAR, Guanglin worked for 2 years at the Defence Section of the Australian Embassy in Beijing. Guanglin has a background in business administration and more than 20 years experience working on agriculture development in China. In his current role, he is exploring opportunities for ACIAR and China to work with other countries on common opportunities and challenges in agriculture.
Ms Mirah Nuryati PSM
Country Manager, Indonesia
Ms Mirah Nuryati is based in Jakarta and has worked with ACIAR for 30 years. In this time, she has worked in the Indonesia office as administrative officer, Stakeholder Relationship and Manager and Assistant Country Manager. Before ACIAR, Mirah spent 12 months with AIDAB/AusAID, within DFAT. Mirah is a graduate of the Tarakanita Communication and Secretary Academy in Jakarta. In 2007, Mirah was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal (PSM) for her contribution to strengthening ACIAR collaboration with relevant Indonesian ministries.
Country Manager, the Philippines
This position will be filled in the second half of 2021, following Ms Mai Alagcan’s move to take up the role of Regional Manager, Pacific and Papua New Guinea.
Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh An PSM
Country Manager, Vietnam
Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh An is based in Hanoi. She joined ACIAR in December 2007 as an Assistant Country Manager and became Country Manager in 2014. An has extensive experience as a professional communicator, working in both private and public sectors. She completed her master’s degree at University of Queensland in 2013, with a major in communications for development. An contributed to the development of the recent ACIAR Vietnam Strategy and the Australia in Vietnam Agriculture Strategy, which won the Gold Standard Award for Country or Trade Promotion at the Public Affairs Asia Gold Standard Awards 2018. In 2020, An was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal for her outstanding public service in fostering the Australia–Vietnam bilateral relationship in agricultural research.
Dr Pratibha Singh
Regional Manager, South Asia
Dr Pratibha Singh is based in New Delhi, India. She has more than 20 years experience in crop research and technology management, including more than 10 years of research experience in molecular plant pathology on crops, including wheat, rice, corn and potato. Before joining ACIAR in 2018, Pratibha was head of the Technology Advancement Unit of the Indo–Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology for 8 years. Previously, she worked at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; USDA – Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center; Cornell University; and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She also worked as a scientist and Coordinator of Research Management System in a corporate biotech industry (E.I. DuPont India). Pratibha holds a Bachelor of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and a Master of Agriculture Biotechnology from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, India, and a PhD in agriculture, with a major in plant pathology as a Monbusho Scholar, from Tottori University, Japan.
Dr Munawar Raza Kazmi
Country Manager, Pakistan
Dr Munawar Kazmi is based in Islamabad. He joined ACIAR in 2010 and became Country Manager for Pakistan in 2015. Before joining ACIAR, he was a researcher at Pakistan’s Agricultural Research Council. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and his PhD in plant pathology at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Kazmi’s studies specialised in mango disease and farmer training. During more than 15 years as a research scientist, he published more than 40 peer-reviewed science articles. He is a trained facilitator and has worked extensively on the Farmer Field School approach, collaborating with national organisations and international agencies in Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Kyrgyzstan.
Eastern and Southern Africa
Dr Leah Ndungu
Regional Manager, Eastern and Southern Africa
Dr Leah Ndungu is based in Nairobi and has more than 20 years experience managing research programs. Before joining ACIAR in 2017, Leah worked at the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa–International Livestock Research Institute Hub as a Partnership Coordinator, in a DFAT-funded research-for-development program focusing on food security. Previously, she was a Research Manager at the International Livestock Research Institute. Leah has also worked in the public sector as a research scientist in Kenya’s national agricultural research system. She holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Nairobi, a master’s degree in Veterinary Science from Washington State University, USA, and a PhD in veterinary science with a specialisation in agricultural economics from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.