FORMER NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby convenor Justin Koonin has been appointed as the new president of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation.
Koonin takes on the volunteer role following the departure last week of long time president Mark Orr.
[showads ad=MREC]Koonin has been involved in LGBTI community organisations in Sydney for the past decade, including two recent stints as an ACON board director, and seven years on the committee of the NSW GLRL — four of which he was a convenor.
In addition to his experience in the fields of LGBTI rights and health, Koonin has a longstanding interest in issues related to HIV and AIDS, having founded Little Travellers Australia, the Australian arm of a worldwide initiative to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in southern Africa.
Justin has a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Sydney and works professionally in the field of investment management and financial services.
“I’ve had the privilege of being involved in ACON’s work as a volunteer, community partner, and board member, and I know first-hand the power of ACON’s programs to connect, educate and empower, so I’m really looking forward to bringing my skills and passion to an organisation which has meant a great deal to me over many years,” he said.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved in the HIV response in NSW, with the potential to end HIV transmission in our state in the foreseeable future.
“I’m confident that ACON’s dedicated staff, volunteers, members and supporters, together with partners in government, research and the community, will help us meet the challenge.
“I’m also looking forward helping improve the ways we support people living with HIV as well as making major inroads into broader LGBTI health issues. I’m constantly amazed by the resilience and determination of our community, and hugely optimistic at what we will achieve over the next few years.”
ACON chief executive Nicolas Parkhill said Koonin would play a vital role in shaping the work of ACON over the coming years.
“Dr Koonin is not only an amazing advocate for the people and communities which ACON serves, he also brings considerable experience in overseeing the strategic direction and operational functions of HIV and LGBTI community organisations,” he said.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and incredibly fortunate to have him leading ACON and we look forward to working with him to improve the health and wellbeing of our community.”