Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pacific Islands Political Studies Conference

Pacific Islands Political Studies Conference

Monday, 23 November 2009, 1:00 pm
Press Release: University of Auckland

University Of Auckland Hosts Pacific Islands Political Studies Conference

Pacific scholars, policy makers and analysts from around the world will convene at The University of Auckland for the 11th Pacific Islands Political Studies Association (PIPSA) conference.

The theme for this year’s conference is Pacific Democracy: What’s Happening? The conference provides a forum to openly and critically discuss and re-examine the problems and issues that continue to shape the dynamics, culture and institutions of political governance and democratic rule in the Pacific.

Delegates from around the Pacific including Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, United States, Niue, Japan, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Solomon Islands will gather for the two-day conference, which will address a wide range of issues including human rights, political violence, military coups, constitutional change, traditional leadership, development and women’s participation. Sir Paul Reeves, former Governor General of New Zealand, distinguished statesman and eminent political mediator in the Pacific region, will open the conference. His speech will focus on problems of democratisation in the Pacific.

The keynote speaker on day two is Labour Party leader Phil Goff, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, who will present “Pasifika New Zealanders in the new political scene.” There will also be presentations by prominent Pacific academics on topics relating to constitutional changes, political violence, human rights, development, corruption, peace-building and conflict resolution, alternative political systems and parliamentary democracy.

“These are difficult times for the Pacific politically, socially and economically, and it is important to engage in wider discussion and analysis of issues in an open and critical way-- as well as to look for long term solutions. Unstable countries can lead to an unstable region; thus, both national and regional solutions must be sought with seriousness,” says Dr Steven Ratuva, political sociologist at the University’s Centre for Pacific Studies, chief conference organiser and president of PIPSA. PIPSA was established in Hawaii in 1987 as a forum for Pacific scholars, policy makers and analysts to engage in discussion, research and publications about political issues in the Pacific islands. The PIPSA general conference takes place once every two years in different locations around the Pacific, including Port Vila, Suva, Noumea, Queensland, Rarotonga, Honolulu, Christchurch and Guam. The conference has been made possible through the support of The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Arts, Centre for Pacific Studies and Equity Office; and the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project at the Australian National University.

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