Office Bearers


Nicola Swan

Chairperson Board of Directors

Nicola is chairperson for the IRN as well as a self employed rural management consultant and part time visiting tutor at Henley Management College in Oxfordshire. She has an MBA as well as other post graduate qualifications in research methodology and law and is currently completing a PhD. She is a Parish councillor for a small rural community in South East England, also honorary positions. Previously, she was CEO for the Queensland Rural Medical Support Agency in Australia during its set up years. Her practical management interests cover all aspects of sustainability, rural health, education and forestry from a management and community view point. Her academic interests focus on local governance and corporate social responsibility particularly as both are implemented in developing and emerging economies.

Tom Gougeon

Director and Honorary Treasurer

Tom's interests over the years include rural education and international education. He taught in, and administered schools in rural areas of Canada and created and coordinated international internships where student teachers taught in Aga Khan schools overseas for one year terms. Tom's research follows within the area of cross gender and cross cultural communication primarily based within the Canadian school context. Recently his interests have moved to capacity building in the context of export processing zones in countries throughout the world. He views the work of the International Rural Network and the Aga Khan Development Network to be central to continuing this research.

Lakshmi Murthy

Director and Honorary Secretary

Lakshmi Murthy, a graduate of design founded a studio, Vikalpdesign, located at Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Vikalpdesign's niche area is communication for rural low literate and non literate communities. The work covers adolescent sexual and reproductive health, child health, maternal health and community health.

Lakshmi's work has been presented at local, national and international platforms; the more recent have been at "The Art of Comunicating for Health" at Synergy - The Arts Design and Health World Symposium, Sydney, Australia (Feb 2003) "Communicating for Sexuality" at The Power Of Place: Rural Communities, Global Reach, Abingdon Virginia, USA ( June 2005)

Lakshmi has been a recipient of the Bernard Conyer's Fellowship, the MacArthur Foundation FLD Fellowship and the IRN honorary fellowship. She was awarded the Communication for Social Change - Meritorious Commendation award, given by the Centre for Communication and Social Change, The University of Queensland, Australia, Year 2009. She is visiting faculty in a various design schools across India. She is the founder trustee of Aajevika Bureau, Udaipur and Jatan Sansthan, Rajsamand. 

Kimanzi Murthengi


Muthengi is currently an independent development consultant specializing in rural development (participatory methods, local organizational development and capacity building) and communications. His current assignments are with UNDP Somalia and UNICEF Kenya, The African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) and DANIDA in Kenya among others in Eastern and Southern Africa. Previously, he worked for World Neighbours, an international NGO working in rural areas as the Action Learning and Communications Coordinator for East Africa (1997-2003).

As one of the key civil society leaders in East Africa, he initiated and supported civil society and private exhibitions/conferences that have showcased key interventions in eradicating rural poverty and promoting wealth creation.

His rural community work also extends to education since he worked as a high school teacher and principal in leading Kenyan schools from 1991 to 1996. He is still actively involved in promoting youth journalism and careers development in Kenyan schools through a youth magazine publishing firm that he founded-Paradigm Communications.

For his contribution in participatory development, he was awarded the Bernard Conyers Award 1999, granted by the Arkleton Trust. He is currently serving as a board member in a number of local NGOs. He holds a M.A in Communications and a Bachelors degree in Education.

Norman MacAskill


Norman MacAskill is Head of Rural Policy with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and has been involved in the development of Scottish rural policy for several years, representing the interests of the rural voluntary sector. He is responsible for running a range of services including Rural Direct, which helps rural communities to access funding, and the Scottish National Rural Network website and regional co-ordination service.Norman was brought up in a small community in north-west Scotland and has previously worked as a political organiser, an IT consultant and an archaeologist.



Geraldine Duncan


Geraldine Duncan is the Head of Campus at the Wagga Wagga Campus of the Rural Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Australia.  Dr Duncan overviews the running of the medical education program and making sure there is a rural flavour to the curriculum.  Dr Duncan grew up in the Blue Mountains which was a village in the 60's.  After completing her training she married and then set up her own practice in Wagga Wagga as a GP Obstetrician. Her transition to the university scene came via her involvement as a medical educator for GP registrars.  

Dr Duncan continues to practice as a GP in Wagga Wagga and is very interested in indigenous health and the care of the refugee community in our city.


Sue McAlpin


Associate Professor Sue McAlpin has had a career in rural health in clinical, managerial and academic roles. Sue has been active in professional organisation and industry groups associated with rural health and was a former Chair of the national Rural health Alliance a peak body advocating for the health of rural and remote Australians. Currently she is working as Associate Head of School of Dentistry & Health Sciences at Charles Sturt University , Wagga Wagga, Australia.


Jacob John Kattakayam


Jacob John Kattakayam, President of the Indian Sociological Society & Director cum Professor, UGC-Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, was on the faculty of the Department of Sociology of the University of Kerala.   He has served as Visiting Professor, at University of Southern California , U.S.A 2004, and  Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA during Spring 2003.  He has also served as visiting faculty in the Morgan State University, USA in 1987 and Duke University, North Carolina, USA (1998) and has visited several Universities in USA, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, Africa and Asia and delivered lectures.

He has presented  papers & chaired a sessions in the 6th Asia-Pacific Social Sciences and Medicine Conference at Kunming, China (2002), 5th Global Conference on Ageing, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2000), XVI World Congress of Gerontology, Adelaide, Australia (1997) and XII World Congress of Sociology, Bielefeld, Germany (1994). He has also presented papers in the 18th World Congress of Gerontology Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil (2005), IV International conference on Rural Net working, Abingdon Virginia, USA (2005), V International Conference of Association of Anthropology and Gerontology (AAGE) University of Texas, Austin, USA (2005),  17th World congress of Gerontology, Vancouver, Canada (2001) and global conference of the International Federation of Aging in Durban, South Africa (1997).

The Ministry of Human Resource Development  at the invitation of the  South African Government nominated him  to present the country paper in the Academic Seminar held in connection with  IBSA Summit in  Johannasberug, Oct. 15 – 17, 2007.   He was the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, (2007-2009),  member of the ICSSR (2005-2008), Secretary of the Indian Sociological Society (2001-2005), president of the Kerala Sociological Society (1995-99)   Member of the Executive Committee (RC 11) of the International Sociological Association (1998-2002). Currently he is the Editor of ISS News Letter, Editor, Kerala Sociologist and Hon. Director of the Centre for Gerontological Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.   




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