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


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.

Dr Thushara Dibley

Thushara Dibley

Deputy Director

Thushara Dibley does research about social movements in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Indonesia. Her recent research projects have focussed on the role of NGOs in peace-building in Timor-Leste and Indonesia and on the disability movement in Indonesia. In her role as Deputy Director, Thushara is responsible for the following areas:

  • overseeing the research grant program;
  • coordinating internal teaching programs such as the Honours Bootcamp and Postgraduate Retreat;
  • managing key events including the ASEAN Forum and policy roundtables;
  • teaching short courses.


Dr 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.


Dr Sarinda Singh

Deputy Director

Sarinda Singh is a Deputy Director at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney (part-time). Her research has focused on the social links between environment, development, and governance in Southeast Asia, especially Laos and Cambodia. Sarinda has a PhD in anthropology, BSc (Honours) in ecology, and BA in social psychology. She has held research, training and policy roles in Laos and with the Queensland Government.