Community Engagement

UNSW’s Politics and International Relations staff engage with governments in Australia and internationally, professional bodies and civil society through research partnerships, as well as their leadership of and membership in a large number of international networks and associations and their active participation in conferences and other forums.

Nick Apoifis' current outreach projects celebrate the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sporting coaches in helping overcome Indigenous disadvantage and marginalisation. He is connecting with Indigenous coaches and sporting officials as well as industry partners (such as the AFL, the NRL, Netball Australia and Football Australia) to co-create clearer pathways into coaching for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to develop more culturally inclusive coach education, and generate measures on the social impact of existing sport-community development programs. In addition, Nicholas’ 18 years of experience and insights in social justice activism are widely sort out by media organisations and a host of local and international social movement collectives.


Monika Barthwal-Datta is a Director and Steering Committee Member of the Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD). AIYD is a successful track-II initiative that provides a sustainable platform for young leaders in Australia and India to come together and help foster stronger ties between the two countries. Monika actively contributes to policy discussions on Australia-India relations by providing consultations to policymakers, participating in policy-related forums on India and through the media. Her research expertise on Food Security in Asia is also widely sought by media and policymakers in Australia and elsewhere.


Andrea Benvenuti is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London) and a member of the Monash European and EU Centre (Melbourne). He is a commentator in the Australian media on European and Italian politics.


Louise Chappell is a former ARC Future Fellow working in the areas of gender justice, women’s rights, and comparative gender and politics and policy. She is a member of the Australian, British and American Political Studies Associations, and a co-director of the Edinburgh-based Feminist Institutionalism International Network. In the past five years, Louise has coordinated a number of panels and symposia including at the European Consortium for Political Research Joint Sessions, and the American, Australian and British Political Science Associations. In 2013, together with UNSW’s Deborah Brennan, Louise hosted a workshop on Gender and Intergovernmental Relations, sponsored by the COAG Reform Council, the Australian New Zealand School of Government and the Australian Social Sciences Academy. In 2012, with colleagues in the Law Faculty, she co-convened an international conference at UNSW entitled ‘Justice for All? The International Criminal Court - a conference: 10 year review of the ICC’ (International Criminal Court), as well as a workshop on Gender Justice and the ICC for delegates of women's organisations. Louise currently holds two ARC grants related to gender equality issues.


Penny Griffin currently co-convenes the British International Studies Association (BISA) Gendering International Relations Working Group (GIRWG, https://www.bisa.ac.uk/index.php/bisa-working-groups/gendering-international-relations-girwg) with Dr. Julia Welland (University of Warwick). She also serves on the judging committee of the Australian International Political Economy Network (AIPEN) Article Prize and on a number of editorial boards and advisory committees.


Geoff Levey was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to explore what an Australian national identity might be in a context of liberal democracy and cultural diversity. Geoff’s analyses of Australian multicultural policy as the fulfilment of Australian liberal-democracy have been used by various politicians, the Australian Human Rights Commission, NGOs, and community leaders in defending Australian multiculturalism. He is a regular contributor to online and print media debates on the subject.


Laura Shepherd has been awarded two ARC Discovery Grants to investigate the United Nations' Women, Peace and Security agenda, whcih involves multiple UN agencies, including UN Women and the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. Laura was co-founder of the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective, which was formed to provide expert advice on the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda to the Australian government during the term of office on the Security Council (2013-14). Laura is now a member of the Secretariat of the Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security, which exists to support and enhance the implementation and scope of the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (PDF).


Carolien van Ham is leading an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award grant (2015-2017) “Getting elections right”, investigating (a) why and under what conditions electoral reform in electoral democracies and electoral autocracies is successful; (b) how election integrity can be effectively strengthened; and (c) how election integrity affects democratization. This includes engaging with electoral management bodies in Chile, El Salvador, Niger, the Philippines and Azerbaijan, as well as practitioner organizations involved in supporting electoral reform. This research is connected to the Electoral Integrity Project at the University of Sydney and the Varieties of Democracy Project at Gothenburg University.


Miguel Vatter is the co-founder and director of the UNSW-sponsored international network Biopolitica dedicated to the study of biopolitics from interdisciplinary perspectives, and also leads the Biopolitical Studies Research Network located in the School of Social Sciences. In addition, Miguel is a recurrent visiting professor at Wuhan University of Technology (China) and Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (Chile).