Pacific influence

How do we meaningfully engage with Pacific peoples and issues across the region? Scholars in geopolitics, security and climate explore in a Talanoa (shared conversation) hosted by Professor Jioji Ravulo.

Much attention is on the Pacific region as leading world powers seek to have influence and possible control on the access and development of Pacific Islands Counties and its Territories (PICT). The way in which this is occurring is shaped competing priorities and outcomes, underpinned by economic and financial incentives. 

Despite good will and intention, a key question remains: what are we doing to genuinely and sustainably support Pacific people across the region? This should be the central idea that shapes the way in which regional development occurs across the Pacific region. Our host and panel will critically reflect on this overarching question, with examples drawn from the past, present and possible futures.

The panel will also explore key questions including: Who benefits from having influence and control across the region and why? How are the key players held accountable for their varying impacts across the region?  What is the role and influence of Pacific people in shaping this dialogue? 

This event was held on 15 March 2023 at the University of Sydney, and presented in collaboration with Commonwealth Study Conference (CSC) Australia to further develop proactive and responsive conversations around regional collaboration and co-operation across the Pacific.

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The speakers

Dr George Carter, Australian National University

George is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics and Regionalism, at the Department of Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University (ANU). He is also the Director for the ANU Pacific Institute a network hub of over 200 scholars – connecting and promoting Pacific Sudies – research, teaching and training at the university. George’s research and teaching interests are informed by his education, work experience in the Pacific and upbringing through his proud Samoan Tuvaluan, i-Kiribati, Chinese, British ancestry. He serves his family and village in Samoa, where he holds the matai/chiefly title of Sala.

Dr Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, climate journalist and scholar

Lagipoiva, from the island of Savaii in Samoa, South Pacific is the author of Staying Afloat in Paradise – a study of climate change reporting in the Pacific islands and the United Kingdom. She has worked in the news media for over 18 years and was appointed the first female editor of an independent national newspaper in her country at the age of 25. Lagipoiva has worked in the Pacific islands as a journalist, media trainer and communications for development specialist in the areas of climate change, environment, human rights, gender sensitive reporting and broader development issues. 

Professor Jioji Ravulo

Professor Jioji Ravulo (February 2023). Photography: Stefanie Zingsheim for The University of Sydney.

Professor Jioji Ravulo (Host), University of Sydney

Jioji is Professor and Chair of Social Work and Policy Studies in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. His research, writing and areas of interest include mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, youth development, marginality and decoloniality. He has been involved and invited to author over 70 publications, including peer reviewed journal articles, scholarly book chapters, research reports, and opinion pieces. He is passionate about creating and implementing social work educational and research approaches that are engaging and engaged. 

Jioji is also Adjunct Professor in the School of Law and Social Sciences at  The University of the South Pacific

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