IGD Team


George Varughese has over 25 years of international development experience in conflict-affected and disrupted contexts; working on transitional political processes and constitutional development; capacity-building initiatives in the centre of government; federalism and subnational governance; conflict-transformation and peace building; women's advancement and security; and public education and discourse on democratic political processes and rule of law.

Prior to joining UNSW Sydney, George held the Kabul-based positions of Principal Advisor to the Deputy Special Representative (Development) of the United Nations Secretary-General for Afghanistan and the position of Chief of Service – Sustainable Development, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

In addition to Afghanistan, George has provided senior executive leadership and technical assistance in Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste, on development program design and management, public policy analysis, and substantive research for The Asia Foundation, United Nations, and development thinktanks.

George remains interested and involved in the institutional design of partnerships between local communities, private sector, and government officials for conflict resolution, local governance, co-production of public services in emerging urban areas, participatory management of natural resources, the delivery of social services, and philanthropy. He founded and has advised since 2010, the Niti Foundation, a Nepali non-profit organisation that accompanies public policy reform and federalism in Nepal.

George holds a joint PhD in Political Science and Public Administration from Indiana University, Bloomington.


Lucy has worked in both the private sector for multinational organisations in the UK and Australia and the higher education sector, working at Oxford House College London before commencing with UNSW almost 10 years ago.

She has been working for various researchers, including many distinguished Chief Investigators, in the faculties of Engineering, Science, and Art, Design & Architecture.

Lucy brings to the IGD extensive experience in operational analysis and strategic planning, with a focus on operation modelling and management.

Senior Project Officer

Iain joined the IGD with five years' experience working in public policy and legal development in South Asia, where he developed a particular focus on Nepal's experience of post-conflict constitutional transition. In 2015 he was awarded an Australian Government New Columbo Plan Fellowship, which supported him to complete his law honours thesis in Nepal, examining the country's new federal arrangement. In 2016, his research in India on urban development policy was supported by Monash University's Asian Experience Travel Scholarship.

Iain brings to the IGD experience in strategic program development and management.

Academic Leads

Academic Co-Lead - Pacific

Professor Robinson has a background in environmental science, environmental law and human geography. Daniel’s research interests include protecting and promoting Indigenous knowledge and rights in relation to the environment. He is a Research Fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and he is Pacific Regional Project Manager of the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative. He is currently the project lead on a 5-year ARC Discovery on Indigenous knowledge futures in Australia and the Pacific.

To date, the Academic Co-Leads for the Pacific have been building institutional and community relationships across the Pacific focusing on identifying key issues for communities and how UNSW expertise can contribute.

Yuwaya Ngarra-li


Ruth is Director of Yuwaya Ngarra-li at UNSW. Her research focuses on systemic critiques and community-led responses to the criminalisation and incarceration of women, young people, people with disability and Aboriginal peoples. Ruth was a researcher on the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System (IAMHDCD) Project that involved collaboration with the Dharriwaa Elders Group and Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service from 2011-2015, and has been involved in building the Yuwaya Ngarra-li partnership at the UNSW end since then. Ruth's PhD was on evaluation and the diversion of Aboriginal women from prison, and she also has a Masters in International Social Development. Ruth has previously worked as an evaluation consultant for government and non-government agencies, a senior research fellow at Jumbunna, UTS, and policy officer at the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and Australian Human Rights Commission.

Senior Research Fellow

Rebecca is a Senior Research Fellow with Yuwaya Ngarra-li at UNSW and a specialist consultant with the Social Outcomes Lab (SOULAB). She is an applied econometrician who is committed to using her skills to help improve wellbeing and social justice, through evidence-based research and evaluation. Rebecca has more than ten years' research experience in academia and the not-for-profit sector, working on a range of mixed-methods projects. She has particular expertise in using linked administrative data for longitudinal analyses relating to health, education, and criminology. In her spare time Rebecca is an advocate for refugees and people seeking asylum.

Collaboration Coordinator

With a background in media and operations in the arts and community sectors, Pauline has specific expertise in relationship building, cross-sector collaboration, and change management. Pauline has a passion for social justice, Indigenous rights and representation, and community building. Recently she has led the communications strategy and re-branding at the Community Restorative Centre, and supported a gender and other diversity program in the tech industry. Pauline has a degree in English, Linguistics and Media.

Youth Justice Advisor

Peta Ivy MacGillivray is a Kalkutungu and South Sea Islander lawyer and researcher, and the Yuwaya Ngarra-li Youth Justice Advisor based at UNSW. Peta has worked as a researcher on a range of criminology, legal services and community development projects in NSW and across Australia. Peta was a Field Researcher and Project Manager for the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Jutice System (IAMHDCD) Project, which first introduced her to the Dharriwaa Elders Group. Peta's area of legal practice specialisation is the legal needs of children and young people, particularly those experiencing social and economic disadvantage. Peta is passionate about Indigenous children and young people's participation in community development work.

Samantha Rich is a Wiradjuri Graduate of Architecture, Adjunct Lecturer at UNSW and a researcher dedicated to embedding First Nations worldview into the design of buildings and the broader built environment. Samantha has a focus on addressing systemic housing needs facing many remote and regional communities. She has worked with Yuwaya Ngarra-li for the last few years looking at multiple housing needs in the Walgett community. She is interested in the role that housing can play in supporting reciprocal relationships embedded in Indigenous culture to care for people, communities and Country.

Research Assistant- Youth Justice

Alinta is a Thunghutti and Gamilaroi woman, originally from the Mid-North Coast of NSW. She has an associates degree in psychology and a trauma informed approach to the work she does in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Alinta has worked in roles in NSW Health and Aboriginal Affairs NSW and has experience working with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal organisations in community-led projects. Alinta brings experience of understanding and applying Aboriginal perspectives in research, and culturally informed community engagement.

Alinta joined the Yuwaya Ngarra-li team in 2022 to undertake research for the Food and Water for Life program, and now works in Youth Justice.

May Miller-Dawkins is a researcher, advocate and facilitator with over twenty years’ experience working in and with social movements, community organisations, international civil society, universities and foundations with a focus on community leadership, systemic change and action learning. She is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at UNSW.