The Marco Polo Project is a Melbourne-based non-profit organisation designing and delivering new cross-cultural education programs. We run a digital magazine that brings new voices from China to western readers through collaborative translation, and run innovative offline events training self awareness, empathy and resilience for people living and working across cultures and languages.
CEO: Julien Leyre
Julien is a French-Australian writer, educator and social entrepreneur. He studied Humanities and Classics at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before teaching linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne. He migrated to Melbourne in 2008, and pursued his career as a writer, language teacher, collaborative artist and social innovator. He is an alumni of the Asialink Leaders Program and the THNK School of Creative Leadership. He is enrolled in a PhD with Monash University, researching the digital ecosystem of Chinese language learning, and is also an Industry Fellow of the Monash Centre for Translation and Interpretation. In 2015, he was part of the founding team of the China Australia Millennial Project, and supports the work of the Global Challenges Foundation as Editor-in-Chief. In 2016, he was listed on the Victorian Multicultural Honour Roll for his contribution to cross-cultural harmony. He blogs at julienleyre.me.
Peer lab design team: Jack Greig, Lucy Lv, Alexander McLeod, Michael Zuo
The Marco Polo Peer-Lab is an independent Melbourne-based R&D unit prototyping experiential language and cross-cultural learning activities.
Jack Greig is a teacher, learner and facilitator exploring the theory and practice of applying human-centred design and digital technology in education and the public sector. Currently a Teach For Australia Associate in Melbourne, he is passionate about bringing people together through purpose, connecting with diverse communities and building highly effective spaces for cross-cultural collaboration and learning. Prior to teaching, Jack led social innovation initiatives in language and youth engagement and worked in Government strategy and international trade roles for a number of years. He has a master’s degree in public policy from the Australian National University and is currently completing further graduate studies in teaching. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shaper’s community and an alumnus and advisor to Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership (DSIL): A global social impact accelerator program for individuals from around the world.
Lucy currently work in multicultural affairs and Asia engagement with the State Parliament of Victoria. Born and raised in China, she obtained her bachelors degree in Linguistics with high distinction and taught Mandarin at the Porsche Headquarters in Shanghai. After moving to Australia she completed a Master of Teaching with the University Melbourne, where she was received on the Dean’s Honours List. From 2011 to 2016, Lucy taught in the unique Bilingual Immersion program in Richmond West Primary School, using Mandarin as an instructional and content language. Besides education, Lucy has also worked in a broad range of roles, as a marketer, journalist, translator, interpreter, event organiser, actress and MC. Lucy is passionate about social justices and Australia’s Asian Literacy. She is a delegate for the China Matters Inaugural Young Professionals Policy Conference in Canberra, and will be participating in the 2017 China Australia Millennial Project in Shanghai and Sydney.
Alexander McLeod is a Chinese language educator and media expert, with 20+ years of experience on stage, radio and television, and 20+ years of engagement with Chinese culture and language. Alexander holds a B.A. in Chinese from Macquarie University, and a Masters of Education from Melbourne University. He taught English and Chinese at universities, high schools and independent learning centres in China and Australia, and is currently Head of Languages at Northcote High School. In addition to his work as a language educator, Alexander worked as a Taiji instructor and radio host. In 2015, he founded Sinophonic, a podcast supporting learners and teachers of Chinese.
Michael Zuo is a Chinese-Australian language educator and translator-interpreter. Born in Wuhan, China, Michael studied interpretation and translation at Macquarie University in Sydney. After a career in interpretation, specialising in telephone interpreting and delegations, Michael founded New Dream Education, an independent language school specialising in IELTS and NAATI training.
Director, web development manager: Ross Ensbey
Ross Ensbey is an information technology and web systems expert with broad experience working across multicultural teams in Australia, Japan and China. He provides consulting to a range of Australian companies, including large government and telecommunication organisations. Ross leads all things web and tech for Marco Polo Project, and provides ongoing strategic advice through his role as board director.
Chief editor: Michael Broughton
Michael is very interested in all things Chinese, especially ancient Chinese words that start with m. While currently not able to pursue courses in ancient Chinese philology, Michael spends his spare time as a tour guide informing Chinese tourists of the White Australia Policy and Vegemite, as well as trawling through the Chinese blogosphere in search of interesting articles for the Marco Polo Project magazine.
Director, translation Club Coordinator: 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 recently started his own language school, Level Up English. In addition to his role as director, Dan coordinates the activity of the fortnightly Melbourne Translation Club.
Director, education advisor: 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. He is education advisor with Marco Polo Project, coordinating our organisation’s dialogue with universities, and exploring ways it can fit into language curriculums.
Accountant: You Li
You Li is currently doing Master of Accounting degree in the University of Melbourne. He passed all the ACCA ( the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) subjects during his undergraduate in China and is now enrolled in the CPA Australia Program. Always into Chinese literature and enthusiastic about doing volunteer activities, he joined the Marco Polo Project in 2014, where he perfectly combined his interest with his major. Now, he is in charge of preparing financial statements and giving financial advice to the CEO when necessary.