Our people

More than 270 academic staff of the University of Sydney are involved in research, teaching and outreach on issues relating to Southeast Asia.

Our key people help to coordinate and direct their activities, by providing a central hub where academic staff can share ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Professor Michele Ford

Michele Ford

Director

Professor Michele Ford is Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and an ARC Future Fellow. Her research interests are in Southeast Asian labour movements, labour migration and trade union aid. Michele’s research has been supported by several Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants related to these and other topics. She has also been involved in extensive consultancy work for the international labour movement and the Australian government.

Elisabeth Kramer

Elisabeth Kramer

Deputy Director

Elisabeth Kramer completed a PhD in Indonesian Studies, focused on Indonesian political parties and their use of anti-corruption discourse in political communication and campaigning. During her PhD, she was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Award for 2012, which allowed her to undertake a year of fieldwork in Indonesia hosted by the Catholic University of Atma Jaya in Jakarta. Elisabeth has taught a number of Southeast Asia related courses covering themes related to politics, social activism and development, as well as Indonesian language to non-native speakers. She holds a BSc/BA(Asian Studies)(Hons) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University. Between studying and working in Academia she has also worked as a public servant, a development consultant and an ESL teacher. Apart from her Indonesia and Southeast Asia experience, Elisabeth has also lived and worked in Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Merryn Lagaida

Merryn Lagaida

Communications Officer

Merryn is an International and Global Studies (Hons I) graduate from the University of Sydney (2012). She balances her time between working as Communications Officer, and completing an MSc in Poverty Reduction (Food and Agricultural Policy) through SOAS, University of London. Merryn undertook an Australian Volunteers International (AVI) assignment in Jakarta from 2013-2014, working as a translator specialising in natural resource governance with a budget transparency NGO based in Jakarta. Prior to this, she worked at Oxfam Australia for 3 years. Merryn is currently the Communications Officer of the AIYA NSW chapter.

Samuel Bashfield

Samuel Bashfield

Administration Officer

Sam has been studying Indonesian since high school, and recently completed a BA (Hons I) in Indonesian Studies at Monash University. During Sam’s studies, he undertook an ACICIS flexible immersion program at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and was awarded an Anne Wallace Memorial Travel Grant, as well as a Victorian Government Hamer Scholarship. Since graduating, Sam interned at the Jakarta Globe newspaper, and completed a solo motorcycle journey from Banda Aceh to Jakarta. Sam is currently the Director of Partnerships and Membership on the AIYA Executive Committee.