Candice Van Doosselaere, the 364th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is a citizen of the world.

She was born in Mexico to Belgian parents, spent much of her childhood in America, finished her schooling in Belgium, did some of her university studies in Italy, and, later, worked in China before moving to Australia.

Speaking multiple languages and living such an internationalist life comes with pros and cons, according to Candice.

On the one hand, it means she has a deeper understanding of the world and recognises the differences of thought that can exist in different cultures.

On the other hand, there are times she regrets not having deep roots in one community. When she was in America, she was the Belgian girl; when she was in Belgium, she was the American girl; if she wants to see her family, she has to fly to the other side of the planet.

When Candice was a child and her parents would tell her to finish her food because there were children starving in other countries, it made her wonder – why? It also engendered a belief that not only did injustice exist but that she needed to be part of the solution.

Candice has worked in the philanthropic sector for about a decade. Since 2023, she’s served as Australian head of projects at the Judith Neilson Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that awards funding to groups that, amongst other things, support women and girls who are experiencing disadvantage to be safe, thrive and contribute to a just and prosperous society. 

Part of Candice’s role involves assessing the merits of potential funding recipients and ensuring the foundation’s resources are allocated in a way that aligns with its strategy and delivers meaningful change. So, just as she always wanted to be, she’s part of the solution.