Marco Polo Project
We bring cultures together

Our team

Our Team

Keeping the caravan together: our creative leadership team


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

MPP team photo.jpg

Julien Leyre -

Founder / Senior Advisor

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


Thomas Richardson - business manager

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


Eric (You) Li -

Finance and accounts

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.


Marco Polo Project is more than our leadership team! Meet the people who make our work possible and support us around the world as part of our international culture and events team, our board and our education advisory board.

A global network of intelligence, courage and gratitude: our supporters and alumni

Marco Polo Project operates a large cloud-team, with associate consultants and designers joining projects on an ad hoc basis. As an ambitious charity organisation powered by intellectual and emotional labour, we adopted this model as the most fruitful for the success of our programs and to ensure the growth of all people working with us. Since 2011, we have worked with a range of exceptional people who joined our organisation as supporters, volunteers and advisors. We are currently developing a project to more systematically celebrate our alumni and past supporters. For now, you can find a list of the people who made Marco Polo Project over the years at this link