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Ben Hillman

Director, Policy and Governance Program


PhD in Politics and International Relations (ANU) BA Hons. Asian and International Studies (Griffith) BA Political Science and Asian Studies (Murdoch)

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Ben Hillman is a political scientist, public policy researcher and advisor. His research examines policies and mechanisms for promoting political inclusion and safeguarding minority rights. Ben is author or editor of five books (see publications tab for more info).

Ben has spent more than 10 years living and working in China and Indonesia. He also has experience working in Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Ukraine. Ben has worked as an advisor to the United Nations and to national governments on governance reform, political inclusion, and conflict.

Ben is Director of the Policy and Governance Program at Crawford, Convenor of the Indigenous Policy Specialisation in the Master of Public Policy, and Editor at East Asia Forum.

Recent publications

  • Shangrila Inside Out: Ethnic Diversity and Development (in Chinese) Kunming: Yunnan People’s Publishing House (2017).

  • ‘Increasing Women’s Parliamentary Representation in Asia and the Pacific: The Indonesian Experience.’ Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies 4 (1) January 2017. 38-49.

  • ‘Understanding the Current Wave of Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang’ in Ben Hillman and Gray Tuttle (eds.) Ethnic Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang: Unrest in China’s West. Columbia University Press. 2016.

  • ‘Unrest in Tibet and the Limits of Regional Autonomy’ in Ben Hillman and Gray Tuttle (eds.) Ethnic Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang: Unrest in China’s West. Columbia University Press. 2016.

Current projects

  • Urbanization and ethnic governance in western China
  • Political parties and women’s representation in Indonesia

Other professional activities and associations

  • Editor, East Asia Forum
  • Assessor, Australian Research Council
  • Assessor, Indonesia Science Fund
  • Editorial Board Member, The China Journal
  • Academic Referee, American Journal of Political Science, Review of International Political Economy, Policy and Society, *The China Journal, China Quarterly, Asian Studies Review, East Asian History, Journal of Asian Studies, Harvard University Press, University of Washington Press
  • Member, American Political Science Association
  • Member, International Political Science Association

Research interests

  • Chinese politics and public policy
  • Policies and mechanisms for political inclusion
  • Informal institutions in politics and public policy making
  • Ethnic politics and ethnic conflict
  • Governing diversity in multi-ethnic states
  • Political change in Asia
  • Democracy and democratisation


Ben is convenor of Crawford’s Professional Internship and the Applied Policy Project, which brings groups of students together to work on real-world problems for public sector organizations. He is also developing a Policy Field School that will bring together graduate students from China and Australia to research regional policy and development challenges in China.

In 2019 Ben is convenor of the in-country study program “The Political Economy of Myanmar” at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

He supervises PhD students working on Chinese politics and public policy, ethnic policies, the governance of diversity, political institutions, political economy, patronage and corruption, and minority rights.

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team