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Personal profile


Sophie Saydan's PhD research focuses on how non-state armed groups get international legitimacy. Specifically, she explores how some non-state armed groups have made the transition from being deemed terrorist organisations to being recognised as legitimate political and diplomatic entities. Sophie's research interests include terrorism, political violence, radicalisation, counterterrorism, conflict, and transnational crime.

Sophie is currently a lecturer and academic advisor for the Military and Defence Studies Program (MDSP) delivered at the Australian War College. The MDSP is a fully integrated course delivered by Australian and international academics, military personnel, and Australian Public Servants to educate Australia’s future military leaders. Prior to this role, Sophie worked as a Co-Investigator for the ANU-Deakin University joint initiative Australian Intervention Support Hub (AISH) which aims to bridge the existing gap between countering violent extremism (CVE) research and government and community intervention program development and implementation. She has also worked as a Research Assistant for the ANU's Department of International Relations Transnational Environmental Crime (Australian Research Council Linkage) Project and the Amnesties and Peace Agreements (Australian Research Council Discovery) Project. Prior to joining the ANU, Sophie was employed as a paralegal in the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sophie has a Master's in International Relations (with Distinction) and a Master's in Transnational Crime Prevention, both from the University of Wollongong. She has delivered papers at several international conferences and has been involved in discussions on various panels and interviews for podcasts and radio programs. Sophie has also authored a book chapter titled 'Criminality and Costs: The Human Toll of Transnational Environmental Crime', published in the Lorraine Elliott and William Schaelda edited Handbook of Transnational Environmental Crime (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016).




Research interests

Sophie's research interests include terrorism, political violence, radicalisation, counterterrorism, conflict, and transnational crime.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD Candidate , The Australian National University

International Relations, Master, University of Wollongong

Transnational Crime Prevention, Master, University of Wollongong

Arts, Bachelor, University of Wollongong


  • JZ International relations
  • Non-state Armed Groups
  • Terrorism/Counterterrorism
  • Radicalisation
  • Insurgency/Counterinsurgency
  • Conflict Prevention
  • Transnational Crime Prevention
  • International Security
  • International Organisations
  • Transnational Environmental Crime


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