Dr Gus OlwanGraduated with PhD 2016


Research Interests

Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, capacity building and government institutions, governance and public sector development and reforms, International education and scholarship programs.


"Building capacity in the parliaments of Jordan and Morocco - an institutional approach"

Dr Olwan completed his PhD thesis, titled “Building Capacity in the Parliaments of Jordan and Morocco - an institutional approach” under the supervision of Professor John Halligan. Dr Olwan thesis takes an institutional approach as the context for assessing the role of these parliaments, considering in particular their committees and administrative systems. The study emphasises capacity building to complement the institutional approach adopted. Taking an institutional approach and considering capacity building in the two parliaments the dynamics of environmental factors, the constraints on committees, and administrative capabilities are examined. With this approach, it is possible to identify factors that shaped the current work of the two parliaments ranging from the environment, regulations, political system, and the economic and social identities that may influence the way these parliaments operate. This approach also reveals some of the strengths and weaknesses of the parliamentary practices and the administrative supporting services undertaken, including an explanation of how these parliaments are operating under their respective governing systems.

Dr Olwan thesis offers an empirical study of the chosen parliaments by acknowledging the current levels of capacity and trying to contextualise their identities and capabilities. The findings demonstrate that the institutional approach and capacity building in the two parliaments is highly influenced by a variety of arrangements of legislatures along with the environmental factors affecting the two parliaments’ way of work. Dr Olwan thesis recommends the need to undertake further case studies involving other parliaments in the MENA region particularly those accommodating the political transformation towards a new era of vibrant new democracies, not only by rearranging institutional structures, practices and support, but also through cognitive, discursive, and social participation in the two countries’ most prominent institutions – their parliaments.


Prof John Halligan


Dr Olwan received his PhD in Government from the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra, and a Master Degree in International Policy Studies from La Trobe University before completing a Master and Bachelor Degrees in International Trade at Victoria University. In conjunction with his work as a Senior Consultant to the Saudi Cultural Attaché to Australia, he was appointed as a Director at the Islamic School of Canberra from 2016 to 2017. Dr Olwan specialises in international education, scholarships and teachers training programs’ management and coaching, Middle East politics and all aspects of governance and public sector development and reforms.


  • PhD in Government (supervised by Professor John Halligan), University of Canberra.
  • M.A in International Policy Studies (supervised by Professor Joseph Camilleri), La Trobe University.
  • M.A in International Trade, Victoria University.
  • B.A in International Trade, Victoria University.


  • Olwan, G. (2017), “Framing Employability in Saudi Arabia – the case of Saudi’s PhD graduates”, Saudi Cultural Mission seminar, Canberra, Australia, 3rd August.
  • Olwan, G. (2015), “The Impact of Macro Environmental Factors on the Moroccan Parliament”, Australian Political Science Studies Association conference, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia, 28th of September – 30th of September.


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