Exploring Pacific horizons: Sue's academic journey at CAP

Sue Ahearn


Sue’s passion for the dynamic landscape of the Pacific led her to embark on a transformative academic journey, earning her Master of Pacific Development at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP).

Sue's chosen field of study, Pacific Development, was the missing piece she had been searching for to enhance her understanding of the region in which she had been living and working as a journalist and media development consultant.

Her decision to enrol in CAP’s degree was driven by the desire to deepen her insights into the Pacific's multifaceted issues. “This degree offered a unique opportunity to improve my knowledge and understanding of the Pacific”, she said. As the only Australian College, or Faculty, with a dedicated Pacific Development postgraduate program, uniqueness is an attribute valued and appreciated by CAP.

Undoubtedly, an aspect of Sue's educational development at the College she valued was, “connecting with leading experts in their fields in the Pacific. Having access to these experts, their considerable field experience and profound knowledge of the region was definitely a highlight.”

Additionally, she points out the connections forged during her studies, emphasising the importance of building relationships with lecturers and fellow students. "I have cultivated a valuable network of Pacific experts and contacts with whom I hope to collaborate with in the future. These connections hold particular significance in my media-related endeavours, especially in my role as the creator and co-Editor of The Pacific Newsroom, an aggregated news site produced by volunteers with a membership of more than 70,000. This platform is widely regarded as a pivotal source of information in the Pacific", she said.

Sue's academic endeavours extended into focused research, with Papua New Guinea serving as a principal point. Her dedication to understanding the complexities of the Pacific positioned her as a keen observer and advocate for the region.

Beyond journalism, Sue actively contributes to media development efforts. Her role as the Australian Lead on the Women in Media Fiji Mentoring project exemplifies her commitment to supporting women journalists across the Pacific. Her newfound skills in academic research are seamlessly integrated into her journalistic pursuits, promising more informed and impactful coverage of the Pacific.

As she continues to tread her career path, Sue views her CAP degree as a crucial stepping-stone. “My master’s degree is another step in gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding about the Pacific and how it works. It has also enhanced my personal growth and confidence in my skills and expertise”, she said.

Congratulations on your graduation, Sue! We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with you and eagerly anticipate witnessing the many successes that lie ahead in your future.