Marco Polo Project
We bring cultures together

Our board

Our Board

Keeping projects on mission: our board


Daniel Ednie-Lockett -


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 completed a Masters in education at Nanjing University, and worked as a host on Jiangsu TV. He teaches ESL at Monash College, and founded his own language school, Level Up English.

Dan is a founding member of Marco Polo Project, and has been providing support and drive on community engagement, partnership opportunities and event design.

MPP team photo.jpg

Julien Leyre -


Julien is a French-Australian writer and educator. Julien studied Humanities and Classics at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before teaching linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne. He migrated to Melbourne in 2008.

In addition to his role with Marco Polo Project, Julien is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the emerging digital ecosystem of Chinese language learning. From 2016 to 2018, he worked as Editor-in-Chief with the Global Challenges Foundation, a Stockholm-based organisation working to stimulate the development of better global governance models. In 2016, he was listed on the Victorian Multicultural Honour Roll and in 2017, awarded the title of New Australian of the Year. More about Julien at


Samuel Taylor -


Sam is a gregarious professional who has a passion for groupwork, innovation and change-making through connectivity. He has worked as research and media officer at the Parliament of South Australia, and is now running an independent strategic consulting agency in Adelaide. 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.

Sam is a founding member of Marco Polo Project, and has been providing support and advice on compliance, HR and operations.


Raphael Trantoul -


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.

Raphael is a founding member of Marco Polo Project, and has been providing support and advice in liaising with universities, evaluating impact, and integration into language curriculums.


Thomas Richardson - Secretary

Thomas Richardson is a Melbourne-raised student at Monash University, currently studying a double bachelors degree in Commerce and Information Technology. Thomas has a passion for languages - is learning French and Spanish, and looking to further understand new technological frameworks for financial transactions - blockchain and others. He is passionate about financial Technology and linguistic development. He joined Marco Polo Project in January 2018, co-designed the Language Connector card-set, as well as a module of Out of the Box on experience development


Kishan Arava - advisory director: business

Kishan is a business systems specialist with consulting, executive and operational experience across industries - from technology to education. Experience includes growth strategy, pricing strategy, go-to-market strategy, operations strategy for small and medium sized businesses. Kishan is always on the look out for new challenging problems to solve (and great teams to work with). Strong interest areas include language learning (mandarin) and emerging technologies (machine learning and computer vision).

Kishan joined Marco Polo Project in 2016. He supervises all-things-tech for Marco Polo Project, and informs the development of a flexible HR strategy to support Marco Polo Project operations in a highly fluid and dynamic environment.


Eric (You) Li -

advisory director: finance

Eric graduated from the University of Melbourne with Master of Accounting degree in 2016 and finished his bachelor of accounting degree 2014. Eric's objective is to build a career in accounting, auditing, and financial management, fully utilize his expertise and develop new ideas to provide professional service.

Eric has been managing accounts of the Marco Polo Project since 2015, and conducted a complete audit of past accounts for the organisation. Eric recently started working on the development of a complete evaluation framework for Marco Polo Project.


Sam Shlansky -


Sam Shlansky is a Melbourne based Indonesian speaker working with diverse communities.

Tenacious community organiser with demonstrated speciality in non-profit organisation management and administration. Sam continues to support diverse communities while building on established skills. Sam is a recent RMIT Diploma of Youth Work graduate after completing a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University.

Sam joined Marco Polo Project in early 2018 as associate designer, developing the Out of the Box project, and now coordinates the growth of Marco Polo Education Projects