The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is one of the world's leading centres for research, outreach and teaching focussing on the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. The College consists of four academic schools, ten regional institutes,  and dozens of centres, programs and disciplines.

We pursue high-quality, long-term impactful projects that focus on important current and emerging policy and societal challenges in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

HC Coombs and Gough Whitlam

Our Story

Since the founding of The Australian National University in 1946, the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific has driven Australia's engagement and understanding in the Asia-Pacific region. The work conducted here has established the University as a global centre of excellence in research, teaching and influence in the region.

Our Structure

The ANU College of Asia & the Pacific consists of four schools, and one centre, and is home to a range of regional and thematic institutes that support research, education and outreach activity throughout the College.

Pictured: Herbert Cole Coombs and former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

Educational Mission

The College has the largest concentration of Asia-Pacific experts in the English-speaking world made up of:

  • 240+ academic staff
  • 25+ research assistants
  • 490+ visiting Fellows, annual appointees and emeriti
  • 2,560+ students
  • 160 professional staff
  • 9,500+ alumni from across the world.

Our mission and expertise combine to train and educate ethical, informed and skilled future leaders. Our students are deeply connected with the Asia-Pacific region and our programs prepare them for diverse and challenging careers. The College offers both undergraduate and postgraduate education programs as well as more than 10 Asian language programs.

Research at the College

Research at the College is driven by a commitment to disciplinary expertise, to deep engagement with our subjects, and to innovative solutions that address policy challenges.

We work closely with leaders in government, business and industry to translate our research into practical support, so they can make the best decisions today to shape a better future for tomorrow.

  • 942 Publications Annually
  • 101 Research Grants
  • $96 million in total income
  • $36 million in research grants

We are a unique community of multi-disciplinary, area and public policy based academics, professional and technical experts; Focused on research, education and engagement in the world’s most dynamic region; and Committed to excellence in everything we do.

The centre of excellence for understanding human development and organisation in Asia and the Pacific
and addressing the cultural,economic, environmental, political and societal dimensions of global challenges.

CAP Leadership

The College is led by an Executive Committee which consists of the Dean, Deputy Dean, Associate Deans, School Directors and General Manager. Our academic schools also have a School Manager as part of their leadership team. 

Professor Helen Sullivan

Professor Helen Sullivan is a political sociologist and public policy scholar. Educated in the humanities and social sciences she holds degrees in Modern History and Political Science (BA Hons), Women’s Studies (MA), and Public Policy (PhD). 

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Helen’s career is defined by a long-term commitment to bridging the gap between research and policy. In 2013 Helen established the Melbourne School of Government – a multi-disciplinary School that broke new ground through its integration of engagement and impact with research and teaching.  Between 2017 and 2021 Helen was Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the ANU, the Asia-Pacific’s leading public policy school.

Helen’s research has won ‘Best Paper/Publication’ awards from global academic societies including the Public Management Research Association and the International Research Society for Public Management. Helen was awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2002 in recognition of her teaching quality and innovation, and in 2016 she was made a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia in recognition of her significant contribution to public policy and administration. In 2020/21 she serves as elected President of the Australian Political Studies Association.

Our Reconciliation Plan

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific’s Garrurru Education and Employment Strategy is the centrepiece of the College’s efforts towards practical reconciliation. The Garrurru Strategy utilises the College’s unique role as both educator and employer to increase the participation of Indigenous Australians in the College’s student and staff cohorts.


The Garrurru Education and Employment Strategy has two key objectives:

Education: attract and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to study at the College at undergraduate and postgraduate levels;

Employment: increase and foster the participation of Indigenous academic and professional staff in the College’s workplace at all levels.

Underpinning these objectives is our continued commitment to promoting the understanding of and competency in Indigenous culture and history among the College’s staff and students.


Undergraduate and Postgraduate Education

In support of the Garrurru Strategy’s education objective, the College is delighted to offer the Garrurru Indigenous Undergraduate Accommodation Scholarship and the Garrurru Postgraduate Indigenous Scholarship to prospective and current students of the College.

Professional and Academic Employment

To achieve the Garrurru Strategy’s employment objective, the College offers a broad range of professional and academic employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at various stages of their careers. These include Academic fellowships, Identified professional and academic positions, Internships and Traineeships.


    CAP RAP Committee

    The College’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Committee embodies the College’s commitment to an Australia that provides equal chances for all, while recognising and respecting the special place, culture and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as Australia’s First Peoples.

    The College recognises, celebrates and advances educational and professional opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The key cornerstones of our Reconciliation Action Plan in the college are embodied in the Garrurru Education and Employment Strategy. These include educational scholarships and employment strategies to advance the representation of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders among our student and staff population. 

    Furthermore, we seek to develop a real awareness, understanding, appreciation and respect for the culture and history of Indigenous Australia across the College through cultural awareness training, our events, and incorporating Indigenous protocols and symbols into College workspaces.

    In 2015-17 the CAP RAP Committee will coordinate and focus its activities across four key portfolios:

    1. Culture and Recognition
    2. Outreach and Engagement
    3. Education
    4. Employment
    Garrurru ('Sail') 2011 - Gulumbu Yunupingu

    Garrurru ('Sail') 2011 - Gulumbu Yunupingu

    The strategy has been named after the artwork ‘Garrurru’ (Sail), which was donated to the College by the renowned Yolngu artist, the late Gulumbu Yunupingu. Proudly on display in the College’s Hedley Bull Building, this artwork symbolises the exchange between Asian and Indigenous Australian cultures. The Garrurru Strategy aims to sustain the continuation of the exchange by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to study and work at the pre-eminent ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

    I.D.E.A at CAP

    Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (I.D.E.A) at The College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) is fundamentally aligned with the University's strategic plan, ANU 2025. The University is committed to a “positive culture characterised by respect, collaboration, equity and diversity” (p. 24) with gender equity continuing to be an essential goal of the University.

    This year, the I.D.E.A Committee will focus on consolidating the extensive work that has been undertaken on gender equity in addition to identifying and responding to existing gaps. The focus is supporting each of CAP’s four Schools towards its reaching their own I.D.E.A goals in an effort to support a whole-of-community approach aiming to effect change at the individual, relationship, community levels. As a College, CAP has made four key commitments in relation to gender equality:

    Foster an inclusive and equitable organisational culture

    A fair, supportive and inclusive culture is central to CAP. Making gender equality a priority through all of our work is central. Understanding and responding to the issues faced by women from all backgrounds and at all levels is our ongoing commitment, which will be progressed through a process of consultation and meaningful data collection.  Promoting a culture that supports respectful relationships will be prioritised through the provision of support and training for all staff and students.

    Key actions and targets:

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    • Inclusive and collaborative workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion – positive results from staff and student surveys regarding workplace culture
    • Literacy on respectful relationships – increased awareness of prevention strategies and response services
    • Engagement and impact metric: 50/50 gender balance on public panels
    • Updated policies that are implemented and responsive to emerging issues to support an inclusive environment
    • Acknowledgement and celebration of efforts across the College to improve inclusive culture through sharing good practice.

    Leadership and Accountability

    CAP leadership will champion gender equality across all of their portfolio activities will be central to lines of accountability within each School. Responding and providing support for women at various points in their careers including training, leadership and development.

    Key actions and targets:

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    • Dedicated gender equality support to the Dean’s Office through the provision of an Associate Dean I.D.E.A
    • I.D.E.A governance infrastructure established and functioning at College and School levels
    • Gender equality included as standing item on executive committee meetings
    • Operational capacity of gender equality principles increased in professional and academic staff.

    Continue to attract and retain women

    CAP will address the underrepresentation of women in permanent academic positions across all levels. As a College, we are committed to addressing the negative effects of casualisation of the tertiary sector on women.

    Key actions and targets:

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    • Succession and retention plans for women across at the School level
    • Increased number of women appointed in senior roles
    • Gender balance on selection and promotions committees
    • Increased knowledge of supervisors and staff on promotions process built into PDRs
    • Bias training for all staff, including promotions committees
    • Support targeted efforts to address the decrease of publications from COVID-19.

    Lead gender-sensitive and decolonising teaching and research agendas

    CAP will provide leadership to the university on practices to reform teaching and research agendas by supporting, promoting and making accessible its research and approaches.

    Key actions and targets:

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    • Support and promote research on gender equality
    • Community of Practice on decolonising and gender-sensitive teaching established at School-levels
    • Collection and communication of successful practices in relation to decolonising and gender-sensitive teaching approaches

    The CAP Digital Education Services (DES) team is an integral part of the CAP Student Centre that provides a supported and sustainable blended learning environment and to support the College’s educational outreach activities.


    The team supports academics in digital transformation of teaching, learning and research using online education tools including Wattle, Gradebook and Turnitin. The team also helps academics to create innovative and interactive learning and teaching environment.

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      Project highlights

      CAP is at the forefront at ANU in creating fully online language courses. Since 2011, DES has worked with academic staff in a number of innovative projects for not-widely-taught language courses:

      • Engaging in India: a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) project launched in 2013. It is the first digital delivery of language course.
      • Online Asian language courses: the first fully online language courses at the ANU are available on Open Universities Australia since 2018. The courses including Hindi, Sanskrit, Thai, Tetum, Tibetan, Vietnamese and Mongolian
      • Other language projects underway including Burmese and Tok Pisin
      • Innovation in Teaching Showcase: a CAP initiative beginning in 2012 highlighting the application of new technologies in online teaching. Exploring various new technologies including artificial intelligence and virtual reality in online language learning.