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The Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs (Bell School) is recognised as the pre-eminent centre in the region and one of the best in the world for research excellence and policy analysis of Asia-Pacific and international politics, society, strategy, security and diplomacy. 

Collectively, as a School, our education and research engage deeply with Asia and the Pacific on four levels: international, regional, national and subnational. Our engagement with Asia and the Pacific at the regional level specifically involves four primary sub-regions: the Pacific, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.

The Bell School provides undergraduate and graduate coursework programs and graduate research training of the highest quality. Many of our PhD graduates have gone on to senior leadership positions in government and the private sector, and academic positions at some of the most prestigious universities. We currently have over 100 PhD students, over 350 postgraduate coursework students, and around 800 students taking our undergraduate courses. When they graduate, they will join an international community of over 13,000 Bell School alumni.

Our commitment to education extends beyond the confines of the classroom, in accordance with the founding mandate of The Australian National University (ANU) to advance the country’s understanding of the Asia-Pacific region and its place in it. Our academic community are key contributors to national policymaking, appearing frequently in the media, advising government, and hosting the highly influential country update conference series, which itself has resulted in the publication of over 25 books.

Find out more about our education programs in our program guide.

Find out more about our Higher Degree by Research program.

Read our Strategic Plan 2021 - 2026

Our School Director

Julien Barbara, Head of Department, Department of Pacific Affairs

Associate Professor Julien Barbara is a political economist specialising in politics, democracy and governance in the Pacific. He has conducted research on political and social change across the Pacific region including in the areas of elections, political participation, political attitudes, climate, public policy, governance and institutional reform, leadership, gender and urbanisation. He has significant foreign and aid policy experience, having worked in various roles for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) since 2000, including as a diplomat posted to the European Union (2002-2004) and Director of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Machinery of Government Program (2011-12). Most recently, Julien was Head of our Department of Pacific Affairs (2021-2023).


The Bell School is one of four schools within the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP).

Formally established in 2010, the Bell School is home to four academic units, each known for its excellence in research and teaching, and for the positive contribution that our research makes beyond academia.

Dr Coral Bell AO

Described as Australia’s most distinguished analyst of contemporary international politics, Dr Coral Bell AO (1923-2012) was an internationally renowned scholar with a close connection to the School.

Dr Bell’s distinguished career as a leading analyst of international relations for more than 40 years bridges the School’s core missions of research excellence and policy engagement in international politics.

Coral Bell not only shaped Australian defence and foreign policy; she foresaw the challenges and dangers of today’s world decades in advance.

The release of the book Power and International Relations: Essays in Honour of Coral Bell edited by Desmond Ball and Sheryn Lee, with contributions from more than a dozen of Dr Bell's friends and colleagues, honours her life and examines her ideas and, through them, her legacy.


It's a rare thing for an international relations expert to possess a balance of theory and experience, history and imagination, realism and hope. Coral had this, and she had a 19th-century prose style to match it.

Through her writing she explained the chaos of international events and human affairs in simple and clear language to her baffled compatriots.

For the rest of the world, she brought an antipodean temperament and perspective to the great questions of our time; she was our George Kennan in thick glasses, blue floral dress, white sneakers and a string of pearls.

— Minh Bui Jones, The Lowy Interpreter, 5 October 2012