Nelson was born and bred in General Santos, Philippines where grew up in a small shanty village.
He studied at Mindanao State University – High School (Valedictorian, Batch 92) and studied two years of Political Science at MSU-College before taking up an Australian government scholarship in 1995. At the age of 14, Nelson received a Special Rotary Youth Leadership Award, for proposing a project on street children.
Nelson finished his Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1998. Since then, Nelson solidly pursued a career in international development.
Before his current role, Nelson worked at the Australian Trade Commission in Manila, as Australia’s liaison officer to the Asian Development Bank for two years. He also worked with the Queensland Government, as Senior Trade Officer for the International Aid and Development Business Unit. He also briefly served as an intern for a parliamentarian at the Australia’s Federal Parliament, and the United Nations in New York.
Nelson is currently the Manager of International Projects at Queensland University of Technology (or QUT). He has been heading a multi-awarded unit, and industry leader, since 2004 (over 13 years). His unit has managed over $50 million worth of development projects over the last ten years. By profession, Nelson is an international development practitioner, specialising in capacity building, learning and development, and engagement. His advocacy and special areas of interest in development include: good governance, community engagement, international business, social inclusion, innovations promotion, gender equity and women’s empowerment, inclusive education, leadership and organisational development.
Nelson has undertaken development work in over 30 countries (in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and South America), and has managed over 100 international projects. QUT is a world class university, with strong emphasis on innovations, industry engagement, and community engagement. This university is a recognised leader in international development in Australia.
Nelson has been permanently living in Queensland, Australia since 2001, for about 17 years now. He is married to Roselle Manliguez. Nelson and Roselle are proud parents of three children – Liam (14), Nicolas (8) and Savanna (5).