Alison De Luise

Alison De Luise

Alison De Luise is an Australian ex-pat who has been living in Rome, Italy for the past 5 years but in August 2017 will move to Philadelphia for the next four years, accompanying her husband on a work posting. Anticipating this move, Alison has just finished up her role for the past four year of Manager of Strategic Partnerships at an international agricultural research for development organisation called Bioversity International (Part of the CGIAR system of international research centres). The role focused on developing and managing strategic partnerships to support the mission of delivering scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. Prior to that Alison worked for the Australian government aid program (AusAID) as Manager of Food Security Policy, and prior to that as Australian Regional Representative in the Papua New Guinean Highlands for AusAID. Before her time with the government Alison spent 3.5 years in Swaziland, managing community development and social enterprise projects for a local NGO.
Alison has an undergraduate double degree in Arts and Commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Masters degree in International Development from RMIT. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Food Security Policy Development from the Australian National University.
She is very interested in exploring how to optimize human/nature interactions so that both benefit sustainably. Duke’s DEL-MEM masters will help her to fill in some of the gaps on the environmental side of this interest, having worked more directly within the food sphere for some time.

Career Interests

Cities, Green Infrastructure, Sustainability


Master of Environmental Management, May 2019
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
Concentration: Environmental Leadership
Nicholas School Student Council 2018 Representative
Supporting Philadelphia Office of Sustainability on range of research tasks 
Certificate of Graduate Studies, 2011-2013
Australian National University, Australia
Concentration: Food Security/Rural Development
Master of International Development, 2003-2007
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia 
Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts 1995-1999
University of Melbourne, Australia
Awarded exchange placement for final semester at Boston College USA

Professional Experience

Strategic Partnerships Manager, External Engagement Unit, Bioversity International
Supported organization in fostering effective partnerships that lead to the mobilisation of resources and positioned the organisation for increased funding levels and development impact in subsequent years. Secured funding increased by nearly 100% between 2013 and 2015. Support leadership in fostering partnerships with environment- and development-focused civil society organisations to enable uptake and scale out of research evidence. Created opportunities for relationship-building with WRI, Conservation International, Forest Trends, TNC, Bloomberg. Co-lead the development of a number of transformative innovations – large multi-year research-to-development concepts communicating compelling game-changing products derived from our research and taken down the impact pathway by our strategic partners. Led partnership engagement on the Agrobiodiversity Index project and the Trees for Seeds for Resilient Restoration project. Sept 2013 – May 2017
Assistant Director, Food Security and Rural Development, AusAID, Australia
Managed the ‘agricultural productivity’ strategic pillar of the AusAID food security portfolio, including management of key relationships with global and bilateral food security partners. Responsible for ensuring timely and appropriate spending and effectiveness reporting for the $464 million L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) commitment. Managed the multi-country $25 million Asia/Pacific Enterprise Challenge Fund. Lead the performance management and results agenda for the food security portfolio, including development of a sector Performance Assessment Framework, development of headline results technical guidance notes and capacity building support to AusAID posts. Successfully managed and navigated the major legislated steps required for Australian treaty accession to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). June 2011 – Feb 2013
Development Program Specialist, AusAID, Papua New Guinea
Improved coordination, coherence and monitoring of AusAID sector programs in Eastern Highlands Province, contributing to more effective and efficient service delivery. Oversaw the Care International Integrated Community Development Program, facilitating linkages between government and non-government stakeholders. Worked with the program to improve sustainability of livelihood activities. Informed and influenced the AusAID PNG program in understanding of and alignment with PNG’s decentralised system of government. Supported Eastern Highlands Provincial Planning Division in developing policies and implementation plans, establishment of M&E systems and coordination of donor programs. Sept 2009- May 2011
Program/Policy Officer, Quality and Review, PNG Program AusAID, Australia
Provided technical and administrative design advice and support to PNG program. Managed and participated in a design mission for the PNG Human Resource Development Program. This required substantial input into program design strategy, resulting in peer review endorsement of program, contracting and subsequent implementation. Undertook cross-cutting analysis on capacity development approaches, application of aid effectiveness principles, and alternate service delivery models. May 2008-Sept 2009
Project/Development Office Manager, Manzini Youth Care Swaziland 
Established income-generating social enterprises to guarantee sustainable long-term funding stream for MYC while empowering rural and peri-urban beneficiaries through income generation activities. Established a formal bee-keeping industry for Swaziland which extended benefits to several thousand people and provided significant environmental services. Increased organisational revenue from R2m to R5.5m between 2005-2007. Obtained funding for and implemented a social outreach program with five peri-urban communities of Manzini focused on food and water security, healthcare and education. Secured long-term funding commitment from donors for school fees and additional psycho-social support for over 700 orphans and vulnerable children annually. Established governance and management processes for a growing organisation including establishing a Board of Directors, producing annual reports, formalised budget and planning processes, and creating more formal communication channels with organisational donors. May 2004- Jun 2007
Product Strategy Coordinator, Qantas Airways, Australia  
Assisted in preparation of business cases and financial models to support the introduction of in-flight product changes of up to $500 million. Managed end-to-end product enhancement or cost cutting projects including scoping, cross-functional team management, implementation and evaluation. Developed, implemented and managed an inflight sales initiative with pilot budget of $1m. This required undertaking a feasibility study, financial modelling, preparing of tender process, marketing, communications and operational management. Jan 2001-May 2004

Additional Information

Languages: English (MT), Advanced Spanish and Italian, Intermediate Tok Pisin, Basic Portuguese

Dedicated sustainable development professional with 13 years international working experience in Southern and Eastern Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Italy. A strong intellect demonstrated through masters-level study in International Development and Environmental Management, applied in the development and execution of aid policies and programs.


program management
water resources management

Graduation Date

May 2019

Additional Resources



Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Federal Government
Non-profit / NGO
Research Institute / Think Tank
State / Local Government