Our board

Julien Leyre (Focus area – editorial line, relationships , community and culture)

Julien Leyre is a French migrant to Melbourne with a Mediterranean background. Julien grew up in multicultural Strasbourg, and was first exposed to Chinese culture from his baby-sitter, DanHan Huang, a PhD student from Beijing. After studies at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, he taught English and linguistics at Institut Catholique de Paris and Paris-Sorbonne University, before migrating to Melbourne in 2008. While in Paris, Julien also collaborated with musicians and film-makers and published a first novel. He currently works as a strategy and performance officer for the Victorian Government, while pursuing his writing career. You can read more about Julien’s artistic and community projects at www.julienleyre.wordpress.com.

Impressed by Melbourne’s multiculturalism – and particularly by the Asian  presence – Julien decided to teach himself Chinese in advance of migrating to Australia. He imagined the concept of the Marco Polo Project in December 2010, while during an HSK scholarship stay in Tianjin. Upon his return, he gathered an initial team of like-minded friends, and with assistance from them, managed the first phase of development. In September 2011, he was appointed CEO  for a six-month period, to coordinate the second phase of development.

Fau-Zii Chan (focus area – web hosting and development)

Fau-Zii is a independent specialist in web design and development with over 6 years experience. Building an ever growing partnership of clients and businesses around Australia. His business, 1WebDesign.com.au, offers progressive not expensive solutions for today. Fau-Zii manages web-hosting for Marco Polo Project, and advises on web development

Dan Ednie (focus area – strategy and relationships)

Dan is an Honours student in Linguistics at the University of Melbourne specialising 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. He went on exchange to the Czech Republic and learnt to speak conversational Czech during his five-month homestay (2009). Since October of 2009 he has been learning Mandarin and was conversational after six months – but still has a long way to go even after two years.

In 2008, he founded Global Heart Tours which has since connected over 2500 local and international students in Melbourne. In 2011 the organisation became Language Connection which focuses on language exchanges, conferences and social events. 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.

Ross Ensbey (focus area – web development, communication and business processes)

Ross Ensbey is passionate about languages and technology. Currently working primarily as a management consultant based in Melbourne, Australia, Ross has over a decade of IT industry experience and is English-Mandarin-Japanese trilingual. He sees endless, exciting possibilities at the intersection of the fields of education, technology and research to boost and enhance the way people learn.

Ross’ first encountered Mandarin at elementary school in 1991, and he’s been learning the language in various ways ever since. In total, he spent over two years in China – including a year of full time Mandarin study in Beijing on the AFS “Young Scholars in China” scholarship program, and a period of work at the Australian Embassy in Beijing in 2001.Ross also spent two years living and working in Tokyo, Japan. His experience with learning Mandarin allowed him to rapidly gain fluency in Japanese, not through classes, but through direct exchange with native speakers – relying on what he calls a ‘systematisation and socialisation’ model for language learning.

In our technology-enhanced and socially-connected world, Ross is excited to bring the principles behind these ideas to Marco Polo Project, along with his experience and passion to learn more about technology, language and culture.

Samuel Taylor (governance, compliance and human resources)

Samuel Taylor is a PhD student in marine biology at Flinders University, Adelaide. Through his experience in international relations and governance, Sam believes in improving communication between the traditionally disparate areas of science, policy, the populist media and the general public. Sam has been working as HR manager with Marco Polo Project since September 2011.

Raphael Trantoul (focus area – education and learning)

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.

Anthony Verdi (focus area – finances, business development and relationships in China)

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 Yan (Secretary)

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