Inspiring Women of CAP: Dr Sue Thompson

08 March 2018

To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the professional and academic staff who make our College a world-leading institution for research and teaching on Asia and the Pacific.

In this piece, we chat to security and defence policy expert Dr Sue Thompson.

What inspired you to get into your field of research and why?

My field of research is history.  It was my favourite subject at school and I’ve always stuck by it. Before I entered academia, I worked as a news journalist for the Associated Press and while I was interested in contemporary news and working in an international newsroom, I was also drawn to the AP video archives, and I realised that I wanted to study more history.  I love uncovering information hidden away in archives – it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Who is a woman in your field that you look up to?

Unfortunately in my field of international history I haven’t had many female role models, but one who was a great inspiration was one of my lecturers at the LSE, Dr Sue Onslow.  She was an excellent teacher and has given me advice in the past on juggling academia with having children.

What is a teaching/research project you are currently working on that motivates you?

My current book is a combination of months of work in multiple archives around the world.  Wading through documents that were written by past United States Administrations is a fascinating venture.  I am also working on introducing a second history course to the National Security College’s graduate program, which will be on history and policymaking.  I am keen to introduce students to the benefit of having a knowledge of history when working in policy environments.

What are you most proud of?

Buying a one-way ticket to the other side of the world in my early 20s.

What’s your advice to your younger self about choosing the right path and juggling life’s different demands?

Don’t doubt yourself.




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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team