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 events and hosted world leaders and thinkers. Maty's work at the Institute 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 led EU-funded projects and teams in France and Belgium and facilitated the negotiation of high-level international deals. She holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and post graduate degrees in Languages and Political and Socio-Economic Studies from the Sorbonne and in Iranian Studies and Philology from the French Institute for Oriental Studies. Maty speaks four languages and and has recently edited ‘The Law of the Jungle: How Can New Zealand Navigate Global Disruption?’

Dan O'Brien is the Founder and Strategic Advisor of Diplosphere. Dan is also Business Development Manager, Venture Capital & Startup 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 and Persian. MBA INSEAD. BSc Computer Science.

Maty Nikkhou-O'Brien

Founder & Executive Director 

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Daniel O'Brien

Founder & Strategic Advisor

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