Research Candidates' Projects

Our candidates study a wide variety of topics in the political science field. Read more about the topics they are exploring here.


Thesis: Towards an Inclusive Refugee Response in Uganda: Analysing the Integration of Refugee Women

Prior to commencing her PhD project at Griffith University, Beatrice graduated with Msc. Governance and Regional Integration, majoring in Regional Integration from Pan African University, Cameroon after obtaining MA International Trade Policy and Law from Uganda Martyrs University in Uganda. Beatrice holds her first degree in the Bachelor of International Business of Makerere University, Uganda. Beatrice’s PhD project examines the gender inclusive response to refugee integration in Uganda, with a specific focus on the integration of refugee women. Specifically, the project will focuses on refugee women experiences on accessing and/or participating in socio-economic and political arenas.

Research interests include: Environment, Human rights, Public policy, Public relations, Refugees, Regional integration, Social policies, Trade and Women.

See Beatrice's Researchgate profile here


Thesis: Grassroots Membership in Political Parties

Sofia Ammassari is a PhD researcher at the School of Government and International Relations in Griffith University, Brisbane (Australia). Her study focuses on grassroots party membership. It explores the motives behind the decision to join a party, what people do as party members, and the meaning they attribute to their membership.

She holds a B.A. in Politics, International Relations and Human Rights from the University of Padua, in Italy, and an M.A. in International Security from the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), in Spain. Between her M.A. and her PhD she spent one year in India working as an intern at the European Union Delegation to India and Bhutan.

Twitter: @AmmassariSofia

Email Sofia here


Thesis: Are education policy-making processes in Australia affecting the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students?

Julie is a PhD student at the School of Government and International Relations. Prior to commencing her PhD Julie completed a Bachelor of Education with Honours (Class 1) and spent several years working in Remote and Low SES community schools. As a proud Gumbaynggirr/Dunghutti women, she is passionate about Indigenous issues especially in regards to education and public policy. Her current research seeks to explore why Indigenous education policies are continually failing by investigating the current approaches to policy-making in this arena.

Julie’s research interest include:

  • Public policy
  • Indigenous education
  • Indigenous affairs and policies
  • Black politics


Thesis: Distribution of Political Power in Federal, Quasi-Federal and Unitary States and Their Influence on Minority Political Participation and Institutional Changes of Democratic Countries in the World and in the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since 1970s?

The philosophical background of the study lies on the interest in examining the relationship between structure and actor. This study focuses on the influence of political institutions, namely federal, quasi-federal and unitary states, on political participation and institutional changes through historical institutionalism by using mixed method (both quantitative and qualitative).

Patrick previously gained his Bachelor of Social Sciences in Applied Sociology and Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management from City University of Hong Kong. Coming from Hong Kong with a one country two systems background, Patrick has a strong interest in studying how political institutions could affect political participation in the process of democratization.

His research interests include:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Democratization
  • Institutionalism


Thesis: The Effect of Religiosity on International Order: A Comparative Historical Analysis

Ben holds a dual BE/BA degree in civil engineering, philosophy and ancient history from the University of Queensland and a Masters in Political Science from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain. His master’s thesis used a quantitative multi-level regression analysis to examine the gears of climate change scepticism, in particular the influence of, firstly, the current neoliberal socio-economic paradigm, and secondly, the effect of the stability of a given government. Ben’s doctoral dissertation focuses on the effects of transformations in religiosity on the composition of international order, a particularly pertinent area of research given the religious resurgence being seen in the contemporary world and the perceived vulnerability in the current international system, in its hegemonies and global institutions.

His research interests include:

  • global governance and globalisation
  • state sovereignty
  • ecological sustainability
  • English School theory


Thesis: Explaining shifts in Indonesia’s leadership role in ASEAN

Prior to coming to Griffith, Pia completed a Joint MA in International Relations in Berlin (Humboldt University Berlin, Free University Berlin & University of Potsdam) and a BA in International Studies with focus on South and Southeast Asia (Leiden University). Her current research explores variations in Indonesia’s foreign policy towards ASEAN.

In addition to her PhD research project, Pia works as an assistant for a tender project on security politics in the Asia-Pacific region.

Her research interests include:

  • Security & geostrategy in the Indo-Pacific
  • ASEAN diplomacy
  • EU Asia policy

Pia's Linkedin Profile


Thesis: Religious peace-building in addressing internal displacement of religious minorities in Indonesia

Nadia Farabi is an Indonesian PhD student at the School of Government and International Relations. She has interest in exploring more about religious minority groups and religious peacebuilding in Indonesia. She had done research on internally displaced Ahmadiyah and Shia; two religious minority groups in Indonesia that have become displaced in their own land for more than five years. Nadia also interested to issues related to human security and non-traditional security, diplomacy, and global politics.

Nadia completed her Bachelor Degree from International Relations at Universitas Airlangga, and Master of International Relations with focuse on Global Humanitarian Diplomacy at Universitas Gadjah Mada. Before moving to Australia, Nadia has experience of working as academic staff at the Department of International Relations Universitas Diponegoro.


Thesis: Turkey’s Curtailing Democracy

Ibrahim Genc is a PhD student in the school of Government and International Relations. Ibrahim holds a master’s degree from Victoria University, Melbourne. His research concerns the rise of ‘phantom democracies’ around the world. More specifically, he focuses on regimes like Turkey, and the ways their policies have eroded the values of democracy. Last year he joined Democratic Decay and Renewal as a research editor. Some of his works have appeared for a think tank organisation called Beyond the Horizon’s website. Ibrahim's Book Review  of The New Despotism, John Keane (2020) in the publication Horizons Insights, Vol 3, Issue 4 is available here.

Ibrahim’s twitter profile here:

His main research interests are:

  • Turkey
  • Democratisation
  • Democratic backsliding
  • Authoritarianisms


Thesis: Gender, Politics, and the adoption of work-family policies in the Global South

Diana has a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and a MA in Development and Governance from Duisburg-Essen University (UDE) in Germany. In her PhD project – ‘Gender, Politics, and the adoption of work-family policies in the Global South’ – she is analysing the social and political factors that explain the adoption of care policies in developing countries.

Previously to her PhD, Diana has also worked as a researcher for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and as a researcher and social policy coordinator of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Costa Rica.

Her main areas of research are:

  • Social policies
  • Gender and politics
  • Inequality

See Diana's Linkedin profile here


Thesis: Contentious Action in Democratic and Authoritarian States

Bogdan studied International Relations at Ural State Pedagogical University and untook a work placement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was a Turkish Government Scholarship holder and obtained an MA in Political Science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His Master’s project explored cycles of protests in Russia using political opportunity theory. He also attempted to use social networks and Google Trends as the tool to determine protest eventfulness and to identify the degree of public interest and awareness towards protest.

Research interests include:

  • Social movements
  • Contention
  • Repression
  • Democratisation and
  • Authoritarianisation.


Thesis: International Refugee Law in Southeast Asia

Thu Anh Nguyen obtained her B.A. in International Studies at Hue University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam and M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies at Chualongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. She has had seven years of teaching at the Department of International Studies, Hue University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University.

Her research interests centers around the international refugee laws, norms operationalization in international relations, and ASEAN diplomacy. Her first research monography entitled “ASEAN and the Responsibility to Protect: Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar” was published by the Institute of Asian Studies in Bangkok in 2018.

Research expertise

  • International relations
  • International refugee law
  • Conflict resolution
  • ASEAN diplomac


Thesis: Sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict areas: a case study of Myanmar

Phyu Phyu worked with the United Nations to implement the Gender Based Violence programme in armed conflict areas of Myanmar before initiating her PhD candidature at  Griffith University. She graduated with a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 and holds a  Bachelor of Pharmacy. Her professional experiences lie in programme management and implementation of public health programme and gender-based violence programme.

Her first article ‘Muslim Women Education in Myanmar’ was published in the book, Islam and the State in Myanmar edited by Melissa Crouch and it is her passion to support women and girls from her community, country and around the world for their movements of gender emancipation.

Her area of research interest includes:

  • Sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls
  • Sexual violence against children
  • Sexual violence and legal justice

See Phyu Phyu's Linkedin profile here


Thesis: Australian MPs in the Electorate: Constituency Work and the Problem of Representation

Pan’s PhD research focuses on the day-to-day grassroots connection between Members of Parliament (MP) in Australia and their electorates. By examining MPs motivations and actions Pan hopes to shed light on the lived reality of democracy in Australia, as it exists outside of the structured, antagonistic parliamentary arena. This study aims to bridge the gap between studies of elected representatives, the professionalisation of political parties and the ever-changing nature of the postmodern state. Through interviews and ethnographic field observation it will seek to untangle the puzzle of why so many citizens say, ‘All politicians are crooks, but my local member is different’.

Pan has contributed to research at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy on a variety of topics including: populism, political parties, foreign policy and Australian political history. He has contributed to the Australian Society for Quantitative Political Science as a panel discussant at its Annual Conference 2018

See Pan's Linkedin profile here


Sovinda is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Griffith University, Australia and a research fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Cambodia. His PhD project investigates the effects of regime survival of small authoritarian states on foreign policy behavior towards great/regional powers, employing the case of Cambodia’s foreign policy behavior towards China, the US and Japan. His comments have been sought after by the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, The Phnom Penh Post, Thmey Thmey, and the Wire Radio (Australia). His journal articles and commentaries have appeared in Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Explorations, Issues & Insights (Pacific Forum), UC Occasional Paper Series, Leiden International Studies Review, East Asia Forum, New Mandala, the Diplomat, IPP Review, The Interpreter, and Khmer Times. His research interests include the great power rivalry in mainland Southeast Asia, and small states’ foreign policy towards major powers.

See Sovinda's Google Scholar profile here


Thesis: Australia's Official Development Assistance to India: In the Donor's Interest?

Teesta has previously completed a masters degree in International Relations at the Australian National University in Canberra. Her research interests include Australian and Indian foreign policy focusing on the Official Development Assistance (foreign aid) between 1960 and 2011.

She is also teaching Introduction to International Relations (1001GIR) at the Nathan Campus of Griffith University.

She writes for Australian Institute for International Affairs publication Australian Outlook.  Read her recent article here.

See Teesta's Linkedin profile here


Thesis: Small Island States foreign policies: balancing geopolitical realities and domestic aspirations

Mélodie Ruwet is a PhD student interested in finding out more about the agency of small states in international affairs. She is particularly keen to understand how small island states can lead the way on specific global issues.  Aside from agency, her research interests include creative diplomacy, climate politics and sustainability, role theory and non-traditional security.

Mélodie is a Belgian national and completed a Master of International Relations (Diplomacy and Conflict Resolutions) at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). She has experience living and working abroad, having previously lived and worked in Chile (at the UN-Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), and in China.

See Mélodie's Linkedin profile here


Thesis: Extraordinary Decisions™
High-Risk Migration and the Construction of Network-Derived Social Capital Through the Sahara Desert

Migration is a significant and growing trend. A record number of people are on the move. However, some of the routes travelled are dangerous and pose a considerable risk. Migrants travel several high-risk migration routes. These include West Africa and the Atlantic to the Canary Islands, the Western Mediterranean to Spain, and the Central Mediterranean to Italy.

Daniel's research focuses on high-risk migration and the construction of network-derived social capital through the Sahara Desert. An investigation into the critical threats to migrants and the agency used to develop survival strategies in an ever-increasing context of migration securitisation. His research aims to expand the scholarship, strengthen humanitarian response, and support policies to protect.

Daniel holds an AA, BIR, BGovIR (Hons) (Class 1), and MIR from Capilano University (Vancouver, Canada), Humboldt Universität zu (Berlin, Germany) and Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia).

In addition to being a PhD candidate at Griffith University, Daniel consults the Preparedness and Response Division in the Department of Operations and Emergencies at the United Nations, International Organization for Migration (IOM), the leading inter-governmental organisation in migration and displacement.

Twitter | Facebook @DanielWSzabo

Find Daniel's Linkedin profile here


Thesis: The role of external actors in Nepal’s peace process

Bikram worked in broadcast media and academia concurrently for almost a decade in Kathmandu, Nepal before moving to Brisbane, Australia in 2014 for pursuing his Master of International Studies (peace and conflict resolution) at the University of Queensland. Earlier on, he obtained his Master’s degree in English and Bachelor’s degree in Economics and English from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

A PhD candidate at the School of Government and International Relations, Bikram examines the roles played by external actors in Nepal’s conflict resolution and peace process in his PhD project. More precisely, he wants to see how India, China and the United States influenced the trajectory of Nepal’s peace process though military, economic and diplomatic engagements. His key research interests are civil war and ethnic conflict, external intervention, conflict resolution, geopolitics, and small and major powers.


Thesis: Regime Survival and Persistence of Mass Organisations in Southeast Asia

Mun Vong is a PhD candidate at the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University. His research examines how mass organisations like party youth wings and pro-government labour unions stabilise authoritarian rule. He is also a Research Associate (on study leave) at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute.

Mun received his Bachelor’s degree in Information Science from the University of Cambodia and Master’s degree in Development Practice from the University of Queensland.

His research interests include:

  • authoritarian politics
  • democratisation
  • state-building
  • social media politics.

Read Mun's latest article here


Contact our HDR Convenor: Dr Lee Morgenbesser