Ms Sophia Close

PhD scholar

B Arts (Political Science / Peace and Conflict Studies) (1A Honours International Relations) (University of Queensland)
B Economics (University of Queensland)

Topic or working title

‘Indigenous knowledge systems, development and conflict – A case study of Timor-Leste’

Abstract or summary

Sophia's main research interest is how Indigenous peoples practically achieve self-determination and conflict transformation. Her PhD focuses on how Indigenous knowledge systems and practice provide alternatives to current development and peace-building practices in communities in Timor-Leste.

Panel members and positions

Panel Chair:
Professor Mick Dodson, Director of NCIS and Professor at the ANU College of Law.

Dr Janet Hunt, Research Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Dr Rebecca Spence, Senior Lecturer, Peace Studies, University of New England.


Since 2003, Sophia has been working in the Australian and international development sector, with a focus on Indigenous governance, peace-building and conflict. She has worked for the Australian Government, the United Nations Development Program and various NGOs in the Asia Pacific region and Eastern Europe. In 2013, Sophia competed a two-year posting in Papua New Guinea managing Australia's democratic governance programs; she is now working full-time on her PhD.

Research outputs

  • Close, Sophia, 'Indigenous perspectives on development and conflict: a case study of Timor-Leste', presented at the 2014 AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference 'Breaking Barriers in Indigenous Research and Thinking: 50 years on', poster session on 27 March 2014. National Convention Centre, Canberra, ACT, 26–28 March 2014. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Close, Sophia, 'Perceptions of development in Timorese communities', in: H. Loney, A. B. da Silva, N. Canas Mendes, A. da Costa Ximenes and C. Fernandes (eds.), Understanding Timor-Leste 2013, National University of Timor-Lorosa’e (UNTL), Díli, Timor-Leste, 2014, pp:115-120. BOOK CHAPTER.
  • Close, Sophia, 'How can development transform conflict in Indigenous communities?', presented at the fourth Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) University Network conference – 'Development Futures: Alternative Pathways to End Poverty' on 22 November 2013. Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology, Sydney, 21-22 November 2013. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Close, Sophia, 'Can development transform conflict in Indigenous communities?', presented at the NCIS HDR Research Retreat on 18 September 2013. Canberra, ACT, 17-19 September 2013. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Close, Sophia, 'Can development transform conflict in Timorese communities?', presented at the 4th Timor-Leste Studies Association (TLSA) Research Conference 'Understanding Timor-Leste 2013' on 15 July 2013. Liceu Campus, National University of Timor-Lorosae (UNTL), Dili, Timor-Leste, 15–16 July 2013. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Close, Sophia, 'Development and conflict in indigenous communities', presented at the State of the Pacific Conference 2013 on 26 June 2013. The Australian National University, 25-26 June 2013. CONFERENCE PAPER.

Updated:  1 May 2015/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer