Our Patrons

Major General [ret] Jim Molan AO DSC and
His Excellency Mr Vakur Gokdenizler, Turkish Ambassador to Australia

Major General [ret] Jim Molan AO DSC Biography

Each year the prestigious Australian Thinker of the Year Award is presented in recognition of the contribution Australian thinkers make both nationally and globally.

Jim Molan, best-selling author of Running the War in Iraq, was awarded the 2009 Australian Thinker of the Year in recognition of his unique work as an Australian general leading 300‚000 troops‚ including 155‚000 Americans in Iraq.

In 2004 Jim was deployed to Iraq to oversee a multi-national force of 300‚000 troops. In a rapidly changing situation, facing a new style of insurgency, he was instrumental in leading a huge organisation to adapt and change, achieving results which included the first democratic elections held in Iraq.

If you see military leadership as old school, hierarchical and command-and-control driven, you are very wrong. Jim will share with you how high quality intelligent leadership can transform a massive organisation, and how it is able to adapt and change to find a way to success in the most challenging of environments.

If you think today’s challenges are tough, then the experiences of Jim Molan provide a unique perspective that assist in the exploration of approaches for achieving success in changing times.  Leadership, organisational behaviour and management in extreme situations – Jim’s experiences, lessons and style are both refreshing and highly insightful.

H.E. Mr Vakur Gokdenizler, Ambassador of Republic of Turkey to the Commonwealth of Australia

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Prior to taking up his position as Ambassador to Australia on 15 October 2015, Mr Vakur Gokdenizler served as Director General for Bilateral Political and Maritime-Aviation-Border Affairs in the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. 

His recent political postings included South Africa as an Ambassador and Permenant Representative of International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal, Canada. Mr Gokdenizler also served in Libya and the USA [Houston, Texas and Washington, DC].

Born in Istanbul in 19156, Mr Gokdenizler is a graduate of the Faculty of Political  Sciences from the Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University [Istanbul] and is married to Ebru Barutcu Gokdenizler, the Turkish Ambassador to Portugal.