The Pacific Islands Universities Research Network - PIURN) was launched in 2013, after a first meeting in 212, following the initiative of several actors, mainly UNC and USP (Suva). It included 10 universities: from West to East: 4 from PNG, 3 from Fiji, UNC of New-Caledonia, Samoa (NUS), and UPF of French Polynesia. In 2014, at the first symposium, it included 11 Universities (with another one from PNG), and, in 2016, at the 2nd symposium, 12 universities (with the newly created Solomon Island University SINU). The Pacific region involved is de facto the South Pacific, but conversations are being held concerning the North Pacific (Guam et Hawaii).
The aim was to create a network among universities belonging to the Pacific "Islands", which have in common their location, size and composition of the student's audience, thus a somewhat different picture in comparison with universities of Australia or New Zealand. But the symposia are open to all researchers and institutions of the whole Pacific and even beyond whose work is relevant to Pacific Studies (in all disciplinary fields: sciences, social sciences, humanities, etc.).
The project started in 2012, through a dialogue between the Directions of International Relations and Research from USP-Suva and UNC (Jito Vanualailai and Anne Rouault). In early November of the same year, USP invited the VC and/or their representatives for a meeting in Suva, where the decision of creating the network was achieved:
As our Pacific-Dialogues program is devoted to facilitating the collaboration between the French Pacific Universities and the Pacific Anglophone Universities, it has been closely involved in the search for sponsoring and the actual organisation of the program for the two symposia of 2014 and 2016. The "Pacific Fund" of the French Foreign Affairs / Secretariat for the Pacific had substantially contributed:
The 1st symposium
was hosted by UNC (in Noumea and Koohné), in early November 2014, under the umbrella of the Center CNEP: http://cnep.univ-nc.nc/
. It has been prepared with a workshop organised by CNEP and Pacific-Dialogues, held at UNC in October 2103: "Land and environment in Oceania". For the call for participants, the presentation of the event, and the program, see the UNC web site:
The majority of the presentations had been printed in a CDrom under CNEP supervision (Bernard Rigo ed.). The content is in final edition stage for a printed publication at the Press of UNC, while the CD has already been given to the 2nd PIURN participants.
The 2nd symposium
was hosted by the National University of Samoa (NSU) in September 2016, under the guidance of the NUS Centre for Pacific Studies (http://samoanstudies.ws). One can select the following links to download the program, the abstracts and some pictures.
Other links are to announcements of the symposium and to interviews:
Professor Meleisea's interview, as convenor of the PIURN symposium and director of the Center for Samoan Studies at NUS:
Some excerpts from the opening speech given by the Samoa Deputy Prime Minister, who has been for a number of years the Minister for Education, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa :
See also the question of the preservation of local languages:
(and on that topic, see also the “operation What Oceania Languages have to tell us” in the Operations list of the Pacific-Dialogues welcome page).
The 3rd symposium will be hosted by the University of French Polynesia mid-2018. The offer made by UPF has been accepted by the PIURN Board convened in Samoa. It will also be a major event for the MSHP "Maison des Sciences de l'Homme du Pacifique" (see that operation in the Operations list of the Pacific-Dialogues welcome page). The Solomon Islands University SINU had already offered to host the 4th symposium in 2020 (registered at the same PIURN Board convened in Samoa).
[update 28 November 2016]