2019 Speakers

Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD



Bishop Vincent Long was born in 1961 in Dong Nai in Vietnam. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, his family has been dispersed: his mother, a brother and a sister are in Melbourne, three brothers are in Holland, a sister remains in Vietnam, and Bishop Vincent is now in Parramatta.

In 1984, he became a professed Conventual Franciscan friar (OFM Conv) and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne. After his priestly ordination on 30 December in 1989, he was sent to Rome for further studies and was awarded a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure.

He served as an assistant and then parish priest for seven years in Kellyville within the Diocese of Parramatta and for seven years in Springvale in Victoria before being elected Superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005. He served as Assistant General in Rome from 2008 until 2011, responsible for the Asia-Oceania section of his Order.

In 2011, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in which role he served for nearly five years. Bishop Vincent is the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese born bishop in Australia. During that period, he was Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Peace and for Social Services and was Chair of the Catholic Education Commission (Victoria). Nationally, he serves as the Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees and is Chair of Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

On 5 May 2016, he was appointed the fourth Bishop of Parramatta in succession to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP following his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney in 2014. On 16 June 2016, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv was installed as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.

Dr Pasi Sahlberg



PasiSahlberg is a Finnish educator, author, and scholar. He has worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy-maker in Finland and has studied education systems and reforms around the world. He has served World Bank in Washington, DC; European Commission in Torino, Italy: and OECD as an external expert in various countries. His core expertise is in teacher education, international education policies, classroom pedagogies, and educational leadership. He has published widely about educational change and improvement, his book “Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland” won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award. He is also received Education Award in Finland in 2012, The Robert Owen Award in Scotland in 2014, The Lego Prize in 2016, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency in 2017. He is a former director general of CIMO at the Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture in Helsinki and a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s

Ben Waldon

Ben Walden.jpg


Ben Walden is an international speaker and workshop leader in the realm of education.

He has been a main keynote speaker at many conferences in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia. He also works with many individual schools, looking at themes of leadership and inspiring communication with both staff and – especially – students.

In the 1990’s he played several leading roles in London’s West End theatre and as a member of the inaugural company at the new Shakespeare’s Globe. He has also spoken on leadership and the arts at many business conferences, including at both Harvard and Columbia Business Schools.

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards.png


Rob Edwards, has a Bachelor of Science with majors in Anatomy & Physiology.

He has been a company director for 20 years in the health and well-being industry where he designed and delivered staff development programs for hundreds organizations.

Prior to that he worked for five years in a cardiac rehabilitation program where he wrote the internationally distributed book "Better Blood Pressure".

He has diverse experience working with people at all levels of business, cardiac patients, young offenders, elite athletes and remote island communities.

Rob also manages the Its Time Foundation that he established in 2007 – that replaces diesel power with solar in remote island schools.

Rob’s focus is simply to encourage people to take a brief time out in their busy lives to consider their most important asset - themselves.  And to get you thinking about sustainable actions that you can do so you have a long and high quality life. 

We can’t look after other people unless we look after ourselves first.  That’s why the session is called “It’s All About You”

Dr Donna Cross

Donna Cross_ 31.jpg


Dr Donna Cross is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute. She is the Head of Health Promotion and Education Research and Director of the Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration. Donna has led over 50 applied longitudinal school and community-based research intervention projects in Australia and the USA investigating ways to enhance the social and emotional development (online and offline) among children and adolescents. She currently leads 11, 3-5 year research projects investigating ways to enhance young people’s health and wellbeing, especially among vulnerable school-age children.

Simon Breakspear


Bio to come.