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Keynote Speakers

Venerable Dr Juewei

Founder, Communities of Practice

Venerable Dr Juewei is the Director of Nan Tien Institute’s Humanistic Buddhism Centre and Lecturer at the Institute’s Applied Buddhist Studies program.

Venerable Dr Juewei holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. Through the Humanistic Buddhism Centre, Venerable Dr Juewei heads up a worldwide tour, ‘Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (BBEP)’ that connects past and present, east and west. The team from BBEP are behind the current Communities of Practice series.

Aunty Fran Bodkin

7 OCT 2018, Connections: The Power of The Gift

Aunty Fran Bodkin is a descendant of the D’harawal people of the Bidiagal clan. She is an educator of D’harawal knowledge and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences with five majors, one of which is Environmental Sciences, plus other post graduate degrees. She has published three books on D’harawal culture, stories and natural resources. 

Aunty Fran works tirelessly with groups of all ages, sharing ethno-scientific knowledge passed down by traditional clans and which is being increasingly referred to by modern research, in order to promote a deeper understanding of how to care for our natural environment.

Venerable Bomhyon

Chair of the Australian Sangha Association

Venerable Bomhyon is the current chair of the Australian Sangha Association -the peak representative body for monks and nuns living in Australia. She also serves as a member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Australian Defence Forces and has recently commenced doctoral research at Western Sydney University where she also volunteers as a Chaplain.

Venerable Bomhyon’s earlier professional background is in education and social work with post graduate training in counselling, psychotherapy and group work. 

Venerable Bomhyon first ordained in the Thai Forest tradition in 1995, practicing in the Korean Zen tradition. From 2010, Venerable Bomhyon worked in palliative care, in both hospital and community-based services. She also coordinated the Buddhist Council prison chaplaincy program, and later established the Buddhist Spiritual HealthCare project. In 3 years, more than 100 Buddhists from various traditions and cultural backgrounds, received training in Spiritual Care practice. 

Venerable Bomhyon teaches at various Buddhist Centres in Sydney and Melbourne and continues to offer education in Compassionate Communication and Spiritual Care, including Death & Dying and Grief and Loss. She is deeply engaged in interfaith dialogue with others who are spiritually and ecologically motivated to live in right relationship to the planet and all beings.

Rev Bill Crews AM

22 APR 2019, We Can Make a Difference

Originally an electrical engineer, in 1969, Bill helped create the Life Education Centres along with Rev Ted Noffs, to assist young people to avoid harmful drugs. Life Education Centres are now all over Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, England and America.

In 1986, he was ordained as minister of the Ashfield Uniting Church in Sydney’s inner-west. At Ashfield he created The Exodus Foundation to assist homeless and abandoned youth. Today The Exodus Foundation is one of Sydney’s largest frontline charities.

Since August 2002 Rev. Crews has broadcast his Sunday Night Crews radio programme on Sydney station 2GB-873AM.

John Hatton AO

22 APR 2019, We Can Make a Difference

John Hatton was raised in Hammondville, Western Sydney, and became a teacher of agriculture and science. In parallel he was elected Councillor of the Shoalhaven Shire Council from 1965 to 1973, President from 1969 to 1973. John then was elected as the Independent Member for the South Coast to NSW State Parliament from 1973 to 1995 where he was a consistent campaigner against corruption and wastage.

He retired in 1995 after 22 years as MP for the South Coast, but remains a committed campaigner against corruption and for community empowerment.

Stephen Hill AM

Stephen Hill is Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Though graduating initially as a research chemist, he also was awarded Australia’s first PhD in Business Administration (University of Melbourne) and was appointed as Foundation Professor of Sociology at the University of Wollongong at age 30.

He has authored or coauthored 22 books and over 350 publications or major international speeches across eleven disciplines. From 1995 to 2006 he served as the United Nations’ Regional Director for Science for Asia and the Pacific and Ambassador of the UN Agency, UNESCO – based in Indonesia and Paris.

Stephen is a key advisor to the Communities of Practice series.

Bill Lovegrove AO

28 JAN 2019, The Power of The Mind

Professor Lovegrove has been President of the Nan Tien Institute since 2016. He was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland from 2003-2011. Before that he was the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at Griffith following appointments at the University of Wollongong as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) and as Professor of Psychology.

He is an Emeritus Professor at both the Universities of Wollongong and Southern Queensland. He received his AO in 2017 for leadership in tertiary education, developing academia in regional areas and to cooperative research in various fields.

Abbess Manko

Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temples in Australia and New Zealand

Abbess Manko is the Abbess of Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong and the Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan temples in Australia and New Zealand. She was born in Malaysia and first volunteered at her local temple. She joined the Fo Guang order in 1987, and in 1990 she was assigned to Wollongong – overseeing the construction of Nan Tien Temple. The temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and welcomes thousands of visitors every year.  

In 1996, she was posted to Singapore to develop a Humanistic Buddhism Centre, with the grand opening of Fo Guang Shan Singapore in 2008. Since 2010, she has returned to Australia and continued her tireless project building work in supervising construction of the Nan Tien Institute and the Nan Tien Bridge (connecting the Temple and Institute). 

She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Nan Tien Institute and is Chairperson of the Hsing Yun Education Foundation. The not-for-profit Foundation provides financial support and learning opportunities to the wider community to access and understand values and principles of Humanistic Buddhism.

Cecilia Mitra

Cecilia was born in Singapore and migrated to Perth in 1996 with her husband and three children. There, she obtained a Master of Law degree from the University of Western Australia while also lecturing business law at Curtin University. 

She was the President of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia from 2013 to 2015 and from 2015 to 2019 Cecilia held the position of president of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils of Australia. In this role she represented the Buddhist community of Australia nationally including representations in Federal Parliament in Canberra and at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Cecilia teaches meditation to beginners and has recently authored a book – Opens Like a Flower Cut it with a Knife – A Buddhist Mother’s Journey through Grief.

Tina Ng

Founder and President of the Metta Centre

Tina Ng is the Founder and President of the Metta Centre, which provides a space for Buddhist teachers to share the Buddha’s teachings to the public. Tina is also the Principal Solicitor of Metta Legal, a law firm that deals with cases relating to family law, child protection, property, civil litigation and guardianship matters. She is an accredited mediator at Metta Resolution, which provides mediation, training and coaching to resolve conflict in the community and within families. 

Tina is serving her second year on the board of the Buddhist Council of NSW, and is active in the Buddhist community supporting various causes. Tina has a keen interest in supporting the youth, and runs mentoring programs through her law firm and projects. She has participated in Buddhist events as coordinator, advisor, emcee and auctioneer at charity functions. She has shared the Buddha’s teachings in conferences, talks, workshops, and in her writings (

Dr Jonathan Page

Medical Oncologist

Dr Jonathan Page has been a Medical Oncologist for 36 years with a long-term interest in Palliative Care. Although he prescribes chemotherapy (and other drugs) and refers patients for radiotherapy and surgery if necessary, he also incorporates an inquiry into the psychospiritual domain to address matters of fear, regret, guilt, meaning, purpose, love and legacy (as they arise). The psychospiritual domain can be accessed through meditation, presence and deep listening with an open heart-mind.