Michael Prato

Michael Prato was born in London. At university he read Economics and Modern Languages. His first brush with Central Asia came in 1975 while on the hippy trail to India. In subsequent years he alternated periods working in construction and the Public Service with extensive travels throughout the region, and was resident in Uzbekistan from 1994 to 1996. Since that time he has worked as a carpet and handicrafts dealer with shops in London and Sydney and an office in Peshawar. He generally spends much of the year on the Frontier where he enjoys a wide circle of acquaintance, and where he can indulge his abiding affection for the culture, politics and languages of the region.

Julia Booth

Julia has worked extensively in the private, public and NGO sectors with a principal focus on project development, management and communications. She has developed and managed programs with the UN and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs with a focus on community cohesion and capacity building. She studied Political Science and Languages at Sydney and NSW university She is fluent in French and Spanish and is currently studying Russian. She is continuing her studies aiming to complete a Masters in Development Economics. Julia is currently the President of Lotus Outreach Australia and an International Board member of Lotus Outreach an organisation that provides educational and development programs for children in India, Cambodia, Bhutan and newly established programs in Australia. She recently wrote and co produced a documentary called ‘Bhutan: an Alternative Model for Development‘ made in conjunction with the Bhutan Broadcasting Service. Julia runs an online business — The Mummita Group — which provides products and services for parents.

Brett Furby

Brett Furby has a long history of working in project development and management across a range of areas. He works in a senior research role with the state government in Sydney. He has some years of experience in the area of project evaluation and development following several years in commercial market research. He previously studied economics and history in Sydney and London. He previously worked Europe with roles that included administration grants programs for community NGO’s developing community capacity building projects in areas of social and economic deprivation as well as commercial roles.

John Zubrzycki

John Zubrzycki is a journalist and author who has covered Pakistan and South Asia extensively in his writing. After studying Indian history and Hindi at the Australian National University in Canberra he enjoyed stints as a university lecturer, a diplomat with postings in New Delhi and Jakarta, a business consultant and publicist with OzAid. Most of his career has been devoted to journalism. After doing a cadetship with The Age in Melbourne in 1986, he moved to Radio Australia. In 1994 he became South Asia correspondent for The Australian, The South China Morning Post and The Christian Science Monitor based in New Delhi and covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since returning to Sydney in 1999, he has returned to the region frequently as a reporter and author. His first book: The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback was a bestseller in Australia and India.

Arbab Zahid

Arbab Zahid is a member of the renowned, highly respected and well-connected political Arbab family from Khyber Pukhtun Khwa Province in Pakistan. He graduated from Peshawar University and after a brief spell in the army, Zahid built a successful private business career. He is currently Captain of the Islamabad Golf Club and an Honorary Secretary of the Federal Golf Association in Pakistan. He has two daughters who live in Sydney, Australia and Seattle, USA, and a son, who works for a leading Telco company having just graduated from law school. While living in Islamabad, he maintains close family links in Khyber Pukhtun Khwa Province, and through his business connections has also travelled widely in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

Benjamin Gilmour

Benjamin Gilmour is a degree-qualified ambulance paramedic with 20-years of frontline experience working in twelve nations, culminating in his bestselling book 'Paramedico - Around the World by Ambulance'. His long association with Pakistan began after a year living there in 2005 while shooting his award-winning feature drama film 'Son of a Lion' and writing the accompanying book 'Warrior Poets' about making this film in the FATA. Benjamin has a close working relationship with numerous Pakistani NGOs and is a consultant for Rescue 1122, Pakistan's state funded emergency rescue and medical service. He has also rcently graduated from the University of Queensland with a Master in International Public Health (MIPH).