Who We Are 

The work of Symbiosis in Bangladesh is carried out under the overall management and oversight of Symbiosis International, an NGO registered in Australia and based in Brisbane, Australia. Symbiosis International is registered in Bangladesh as Symbiosis Bangladesh and its local staff implement all the project work.

As with any organisation, the strength of Symbiosis is a reflection of its people. Symbiosis Bangladesh employs over 200 staff across the country in programs which are effectively run for the local people, by the local people. The local transfer of knowledge and experience in all walks of life enables Symbiosis to facilitate change without destroying the culture or sense of identity of village communities.

We are also working with a nationally governed counterpart to Symbiosis International in Bangladesh.




Symbiosis Executive Leadership


Dr. Morris Lee, Executive Officer, Symbiosis International

Dr. Morris Lee lived in Bangladesh for 14 years to 1991 and has since divided his time between Australia and Bangladesh. Fluent in Bengali and with a background in rural technology and religious studies, he has spent most of his career working amongst the poor in Bangladesh to find sustainable and empowering solutions to poverty there. Dr. Lee is responsible for Symbiosis’ Strategic Planning in association with executive staff in Bangladesh, as well as coordinating the programs of Symbiosis Bangladesh and the implementation of the vision of Symbiosis International.


Dr. Abdur Rahman, Country Director, Symbiosis Bangladesh

Dr. Abdur Rahman is a Medical Doctor with 34 years of experience with the Government Health Ministry in Bangladesh. With expertise in training, leadership, research and community development, Dr. Rahman has worked in senior level management for many years. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor for the School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences at James Cook University in Australia. Dr. Rahman has been a friend and supporter of Symbiosis since it began in 1995, and in 2014 became Country Director of Symbiosis Bangladesh.  


The Symbosis International Board

Dr. David Yates, Chairman of the Board

A University lecturer and researcher for over 36 years, David has expertise in a variety of agricultural and environmental science subjects. David also has a keen interest in cross-cultural development work and has lived and worked overseas using his knowledge and experience in government and NGO funded projects in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Botswana, Vietnam, Laos and Bangladesh.

David has been a Board member of Symbiosis since its inception in 1993.

Dr. Neil Parker, Deputy Chairperson

Neil is a specialist in public health medicine. He worked in Bangladesh for over a decade, first as the medical superintendent of a village hospital, then as the Director of a Primary Health Care Program.  Back in Australia he established the Darling Downs Public Health Unit. Neil has served on numerous Boards and committees and has been involved in teaching public health in a variety of settings. He is also Chair of the Finance Committee.

David Vance, Director

David is a retired Marine Research Scientist following a 40 year career with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO. For the last 10 years, David and his wife, Lesley, have been visiting Bangladesh several times a year to help develop a fish hatchery and fish farm in northern Bangladesh.

Lyndall Purcell, Director

Lyndall is a management consultant, with experience in the public and private sectors.  She worked with AEG Ogden, a company which manages sports, entertainment and convention centres, responsible for feasibility studies and preparation of major tenders for government and private clients. In addition to developments in all capital cities in Australia, Lyndall worked on major projects in 15 countries across Asia from China to the Middle East. Within Symbiosis, Lyndall works with the team to identify and develop funding opportunities.

Lisa West-Newman, Director

With an undergraduate degree in marketing, Lisa's early experience was in policy research, development and coordination within the public sector.  Following this, Lisa and her husband, Steve, worked in development in Cambodia for nearly 10 years. Along with nurturing three children, Lisa served in a number of team leadership roles, provided consultancy support to various development projects, and served on the HOPE International School Board prior to returning to Australia in 2014. She is currently overseeing Symbiosis' marketing and communications.

Scott Dale, Director

Scott is a non-executive director of a number of private companies and is a qualified Chartered Accountant and CPA. As well as being a business owner himself, he has broad experience in the finance and business sectors, including in private equity. Scott has a passion for helping marginalised and under privileged people around the world. Scott provides advice on financial and general business matters to the Board.

Andrew Streets, Director

Following a career centred around financial management in not-for-profit organisations, Andrew currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer of a large organisation invested in cross-cultural work around the world. Andrew brings to the Symbiosis board financial expertise and skills in compliance, risk and asset management.