The Centre for Intercultural Research and Engagement (CIRE) was established in 2020 as a hub for AC research and scholarship activities in the field of intercultural studies. CIRE also initiates and implements a wide range of community engagement activities, both onshore and offshore. In alignment with the vision of Alphacrucis College (AC), the Centre is focused on developing humility and understanding into all of our relationships with other cultures, communities, and religions.

CIRE aims to provide well-grounded research, scholarship, and practise. While the focus is on Asia Pacific and Australian indigenous communities, CIRE is inclusive of wider research within the field of intercultural studies. CIRE includes Faculty, Higher Degree Research candidates, and postgraduate students.


The Objective of our Research and Teaching are:

  • Pioneering new ways of research collaboration across differing religious and cultural backgrounds
  • Researching cross-cultural engagements internationally, and specific to Australasia region
  • Researching around the effects of historical cultural misunderstandings
  • Advancing intercultural education at AC through teaching and seminars

Lead Researchers

Prof Lily Arasaratnam-Smith is Deputy Vice President Student Affairs at AC and Fellow of the International Academy for Intercultural Research. Her primary area of expertise is intercultural communication.

Rev Prof Denise Austin is Deputy Vice President Research and Standards at AC and Chair of the Theological Commission of Asia Pacific Theological Association. Her primary area of expertise is Asia Pacific Pentecostalism and Chinese Christian history.

Dr Michael J. Frost is Academic Director at ACNZ and specialises in Māori social engagement in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Rev Prof Jacqueline Grey is Dean of Theology at AC and a Research Fellow in the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa. She spent several years working in Turkey.

Rev John Guerra is a Spanish LOTE lecturer at AC and has been in pastoral ministry for many years.

Dr Ron Hannaford  is Director of Digital Learning at AC and specialises in intercultural studies. He has served pastors and missionaries around the world in 65 countries with higher education training.

Rev Dr Kevin Hovey is Head of the Department of Pastoral and Cross Cultural Ministry at AC. He spent 31 years as a missionary in Papua New Guinea and received that nation’s prestigious Member of Logohu award.

Dr Tanya Riches oversees postgraduate courses at Hillsong College and is an honorary research fellow for Cadbury Centre for Religion at University of Birmingham. Her focus is social engagement in Australian Indigenous communities.

Dr Jacqueline Service is Master of Arts Program Director, researching international aid and development. She worked for over a decade at AusAID across the Pacific and South West Asia, including First Secretary for Development Cooperation in Fiji. 

Engagement and Events

The Objectives of Intercultural Engagement and Events are:

  • Serving and attending events that are hosted by other community organisations, religious groups and cultural groups. This is with the emphasis on listening, mutual respect, service, and friendship.
  • We seek to provide ongoing opportunities for cross-cultural relationships and engagement to all AC students.
  • We believe that all cross-cultural research and study should be primarily founded upon face to face encounters rather than purely theoretical assumptions.

Contact Us

For more information please email:

Director of CIRE

Robert PopeRobert Pope is a PhD candidate at University of Muhammadiyah in Malang and Project Coordinator of the Centre for Religious Studies and Multiculturalism. He and his family have been living in Indonesia for almost 30 years. Robert is also founding Director of Equal Access International which focuses on establishing strategic education partnerships throughout Indonesia. His research area of expertise is Islamic history and the development of critical thinking within Islam in Indonesia. 

Vice-Director of CIRE

Zack Muetterties has 14+ years of work experience internationally and cross-culturally, the last 5 years have been focused more exclusively on peacemaking amongst communities of conflict in Indonesia, Tunisia, and Australia. Zack has a focus on empowering young people to become peacemaking leaders in their own communities, by eliminating prejudice and racism, and creating projects of reconciliation for their community.