CEO: Julien Leyre
Julien is a French-Australian writer, educator and social entrepreneur. He studied Humanities and Classics at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before teaching linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne. He migrated to Melbourne in 2008, where he pursued his career as a writer, language teacher, collaborative artist and social innovator. He blogs at julienleyre.me.
Julien Leyre manages the everyday operations of the Marco Polo Project.
Chief editor: Michael Broughton
Michael is very interested in all things Chinese, especially ancientChinese words that start with m. While currently not able to pursue courses in ancient Chinese philology, Michael spends his spare time as a tour guide informing Chinese tourists of the White Australia Policy and Vegemite, as well as trawling through the Chinese blogosphere in search of interesting articles for the Marco Polo Project.
Web development manager: Ross Ensbey
Ross Ensbey is an information technology and web systems expert with broad experience working across multicultural teams in Australia, Japan and China. He provides consulting to a range of Australian companies, including large government and telecommunication organisations. Ross leads all things web and tech for Marco Polo Project, and provides ongoing strategic advice through his role as board director.
China lead: John Paul Grima
John Paul Grima has worked as a Media and Communications Advisor and Speech Writer for former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Anthony Byrne MP. He has political campaigning experience in two federal elections (2007 and 2010) and one State election (2009). More recently, he was granted a Victorian Government Hamer Scholarship in 2013, recognizing his commitment to studying Chinese and assisting bi-lateral cooperation in the area of trade, education and culture. John Paul is the key contact person for Marco Polo Project in mainland China, and provides advice on social media strategy.
Chief accountant / Melbourne meetup co-organiser: You Li
You Li is currently doing Master of Accounting degree in the University of Melbourne. He passed all the ACCA ( the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) subjects during his undergraduate in China and is now enrolled in the CPA Australia Program. Always into Chinese literature and enthusiastic about doing volunteer activities, he joined the Marco Polo Project in 2014, where he perfectly combined his interest with his major. Now, he is in charge of preparing financial statements and giving financial advice to the CEO when necessary.
Magazine editor – Singapore lead: Ting Wei Tai
Ting Wei Tai is currently teaching history at Raffles Institution in Singapore, and soon to head off to Yale for further studies. Wei Tai is the chief editor for the #1 issue of the Marco Polo Magazine, and supporting exploration of potential activities in Singapore.
Dan is a specialist in second language acquisition and pragmatics. Dan has a talent for languages; he learnt Japanese in two years (2006-7) primarily through making friends with Japanese international students in Melbourne. In 2008, he founded Global Heart Tours – now Language Connection – which has since connected over 2500 local and international students in Melbourne. The events enable local students learning Japanese and Chinese to use their classroom knowledge, and gives international students to knowledge to attend more house parties, social events and make more local friends. Dan is now enrolled as a Masters student in education at Nanjing University, and works as a host on Jiangsu TV.
Julien is a French-Australian writer, educator and social entrepreneur. He studied Humanities and Classics at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before teaching linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne. He migrated to Melbourne in 2008, where he pursued his career as a writer, language teacher, collaborative artist and social innovator. He blogs at julienleyre.wordpress.com
Sam is a gregarious professional who has a passion for groupwork, innovation and change-making through connectivity. He is currently research and media officer at the Parliament of South Australia. His goal is to contribute to Australia’s global citizenship, and help to increase the real opportunities for inter-cultural understanding (as an idealogical goal of multiculturalism) among Australians.
Raphael Trantoul is a French lecturer at Latrobe University, and is currently finishing a PhD on the work of French OULIPO writer George Perec. Since migrating to Australia in 2006, he has taught French, at Alliance Francaise de Melbourne, Melbourne University and Latrobe University. Raphael is exploring innovative language teaching methods in his academic work. He is education advisor with Marco Polo Project, coordinating our organisation’s dialogue with universities, and exploring ways it can fit into language curriculums.
Seeyan is the Managing Director and Principal Legal Advisor at Asian Century Legal. Asian Century Legal is an Asian expert legal advisory firm based in Sydney, Australia.She brings more than 10 years of international and Australian legal experience, specialising in all aspects of corporate advisory and commercial transactions. Prior to establishing Asian Century Legal, Seeyan had worked for international, top tier and boutique law firms and has acted as in-house legal counsel for clients. Seeyan holds Bachelor Degrees in Commerce and Law as well as post-graduate qualifications in Applied Finance and Investment and is a Certified Practising Accountant. She is an Executive Committee Member of the Australia China Business Council (NSW Branch) and an alumni of Asialink’s Leadership Program. Seeyan is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Ross Ensbey is an information technology and web systems expert with broad experience working across multicultural teams in Australia, Japan and China. He provides consulting to a range of Australian companies, including large government and telecommunication organisations, and leads all things web and tech for Marco Polo Project.
Anthony Verdi is a successful businessman living his early retirement. Anthony has a broad finance industry background which involved work with the central bank, private banking,venture capital and financial market trading in Hong Kong and mainland China. For a decade now, Anthony has widely participated in the movie, real estate and finance industries in Australia and New Zealand. decade.
Eric Dong Yan
Eric recently completed a Masters in mining and engineering at Federation University in Ballarat, where he acted as mentor to new students. He has supported the work of the Marco Polo Project since 2011.
Donna Fiegert (marketing advisor)
Donna Fiegert’s experience has focussed on developing and using actionable customer insights to drive marketing strategy. She’s worked in Australia, England and China. Donna is a regular advisor to the Marco Polo Project board, offering insights about market research, promotion and branding.
The Marco Polo Project has relied entirely on volunteers for our development. Since November 2011, the Marco Polo Project is also running a regular internship program, offering positions in our web, editorial, executive and engagement teams.
Below is a list of recent Marco Polo Project alumni
Blogger/editorial advisor: Francis Beechinor
Francis Beechinor-Collins is a BA Chinese (Classical and Modern) student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. After his year abroad in Beijing, he feels he has a firm grounding in the language and wants to explore how his skills can be applied in the working world. In interning as a content developer with the project, his focus is using the website’s blog to group previous articles into themes and summarise them so as to aid users reading. He hopes to boost discussion of the articles amongst readers. The project complements his two passions, Chinese and writing, and he hopes to further these in his future career.
Editorial scout / translation catalyst: Sarah Gosper
Sarah graduated from ANU with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Asian Studies with honours. She’s now re-enrolled at Melbourne University to undertake a Master of Development Studies and hope someday to take on a PhD in Hong Kong. Sarah first went to China at 17 to teach in a small village and returned several years later to live and study for almost three years at Nanjing Normal University (南师大). Her interests lay in the hukou system, in particular the process of registration and the significance of citizenship. Sarah began working on the Marco Polo Project in early 2013 as a translator and editor, perfecting sentences and grammar, and sourcing articles on relevant socio-economic or socio-political issues affecting the mainland.
Weibo manager/China outreach officer: Jiahe Yu
Jiahe is originally from Yantai, Shandong, and has been living in Melbourne since 2008. She is in the process of finishing her law degree at Monash University. She has experience in human rights and communication – with work experience in Cambodia. She loves literature and is passionate about traveling and diving. Jiahe is currently running the Weibo account for Marco Polo Project and providing advice on engagement with Chinese-speaking netizens.
Editorial scout / education officer: Jingzi Li
Jingzi Li came to Melbourne in 2012 due to a sudden idea of challenging her life. She then became a TESOL student and has harvested a love of her life. She is currently studying Translation and Interpreting course and continuously collecting those precious moments with people in case one day they becomes memory. No matter whether a teacher or a translator she becomes in the future, she is heartfelt thankful to all the people met in this city and the power of languages.
Nanjing events coordinator: Sichao Zhou
Zhou Sichao is a graduate student in Nanjing University, majoring in law. He loves rock music and folk music, as well as literature, especially novels. In the past few years, he learnt English and translation for his bachelor degree. Sichao began to organise translation workshops in Nanjing in 2013, bringing foreign students and local students together, successfully organised two events and continuing in the following year with local student groups.
To learn more about Marco Polo Project alumni click here.
The Marco Polo Project exists through the support of individuals and institutions who provided inspiration and advice in the early stages of our development.We wish to acknowledge their contribution, and look forward to further collaborations in the future. To learn more about our networks, click here.
If you are interested in our work, and would like to collaborate with us, our partnerships page explores a range of options. Don’t hesitate to contact us at: info at marcopoloproject.org