Diplosphere is a non-partisan organisation with the mission to promote independent thinking and diplomacy. We provide a forum on international affairs through critical analyses, and private and public events.
Our mission is to stimulate curiosity in world affairs for people of all stripes and bring perspectives, so that New Zealanders may be better informed and make better decisions.
We truly believe that no issue is black and white. Therefore we examine current international issues through several lenses. We work hard to break the consensus, bring unheard voices to the fore and ask the tough questions. We focus on real discussions, less monologues and propaganda.
Diplosphere also builds track 2 diplomacy and people-to-people connections through our network possibilities; cross-pollinating sectors which don’t usually interact - such as diplomacy and entrepreneurs, or agriculturalists and climate change scientists.
We are NOT government-funded, and pride ourselves to be truly independent. We operate through ticket sales, sponsorships and memberships.
Diplosphere has been recognised by UNESCO for contribution to sharing ideas and building capability for a better and more peaceful future and was featured in Stuff’s top 10 "Power list: Who is leading New Zealand on the world stage?".
Founder, Executive Director
Maty Nikkhou-O’Brien is the Founder and Executive Director of Diplosphere. She is a political scientist, linguist, author, speaker and accomplished executive.
From 2015 to 2018, Maty was the first woman Executive Director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (NZIIA) in 82 years, where she initiated, designed and directed over sixty public and private discussions and events and hosted prominent leaders and thinkers.
Maty's work at the NZIIA has been praised by many as transformational and acknowledged by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for 'expanding the range of people participating in the debate about foreign affairs and New Zealand's role in the world'.
Maty has also held senior management roles in Europe leading EU-funded research & innovation projects and teams in France and Belgium. She facilitated the negotiation of high-level international trade deals between French and Middle Eastern companies such as Peugeot.
MSc International Relations, London School of Economics; MA Oriental Studies, French Institute for Oriental Studies; BA Languages and Political & Socio-Economic Studies of UK, US, Germany, Sorbonne. Maty speaks four languages and has recently edited ‘The Law of the Jungle: How Can New Zealand Navigate Global Disruption?’
Dan O'Brien is the Founder and CTO of Diplosphere.
Over the lat six years, as Business Development Manager, Venture Capital & Startup, Dan led the startup business in New Zealand at Amazon Web Services,.
He previously worked as the Business Analytics Solutions Director for Oracle in New Zealand. He specialises in big data analytics, cyber, and machine learning.
Dan transforms businesses, large and small, through making better use of their data assets. He was formerly a venture capital investment manager in London.
He also founded of venture capital-backed consumer internet start-up in Paris, where he raised series A funding. He is bilingual French, English with a smattering of Spanish. MBA INSEAD. BSc Computer Science.