Dr Hill came to VU in 1991 after working for the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Pacific Islands, for AusAID and for members of the Federal Parliament.
She helped establish links with the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and the National University of East Timor in Timor-Leste and was instrumental in establishing VU's degree courses in International Community Development. She has also pioneered study tours for VU students to the Beijing Women's Conference in 1995 and later to Fiji and Timor-Leste.
Dr Hill was elected President of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies after organising a successful conference in 2010. She has also been one of the founders of the Melbourne Chapter of the Society for International Development and is its Secretary.
Helen has taught units in Sociology of the Asian and Pacific regions, Management in non-government organisations, Regional and international organisations and Women in International Development. She continues to assist the university's work in Timor-Leste and in building links with Pacific Island universities. Through the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing she is working to bring together interdisciplinary research teams with interests in these regions.
She has supervised theses on:
- Timorese identity and the role of the media
- role of young people in civil society in Timor-Leste
- role of the Australian media in Timorese Politics
- Vocational Education in Timor-Leste
- food sovereignty in Timor-Leste
She has carried out consultancy work on gender issues in the Pacific Islands, in Timor-Leste and in Tanzania, and advises the National University of East Timor on their curriculum and teaching methods. Her current research is on the transition to independence of Timor-Leste.
Areas of expertise
- Australia’s relations with its neighbouring countries
- Education and socio-economic development
- Gender and Development
- History politics and sociology of Timor-Leste
- New Caledonia
- Society and Social Transformation
- Sustainable Agriculture
- The international development co-operation program
- Youth and Development Civil