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School of Government, Development and International Affairs


Welcome to the School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA)

  • Head of School: Assoc. Professor Sandra Tarte

    Main Office Contact: (+679) 323-2577

    SGDIA programs explore how Pacific island governments, economies and relations with the world affect the daily life of Pacific peoples, including their jobs and political voice as well as their freedoms, safety and cultural expression. Programs also explore how the legacy of colonialism impacts indigenous and immigrant people of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia regarding contemporary challenges of development, nation-building, human rights and regional trade. Courses in SGDIA programs consider these fascinating and pressing issues at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels and provide both academic and practical training for professionals working in related fields.

    SGDIA formed in 2008, when it succeeded the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (established in 2003). SGDIA hosts the secretariat of the Asia Pacific Migration Research Network, and, in conjunction with the Faculty of Business and Economics, hosts the secretariat of the Oceania Development Network, which is the regional network partner of the Global Development Network. SGDIA also houses the interdisciplinary University course, UU200 Ethics and Governance, which is required of all undergraduates.

    SGDIA researchers work in close contact with Pacific regional actors, regularly liaising with civil society organizations, government policy makers, business, and regional and international organizations, such as Transparency International, the South Pacific Forum, the UN Development Program, and the Asian Development Bank. Our philosophy is one of regional engagement: staff and students consistently work with the public in gathering data, developing policy and offering training workshops in areas of public policy concerns for Pacific island societies.

    With 14 full-time teaching staff, SGDIA runs the Politics undergraduate program and three postgraduate programs and in 2011 was advising over 90 postgraduate students.


    SGDIA Vision and Mission


    The vision of the School is to provide students from the Pacific Island states with a well-considered and productive understanding of government, development and international affairs, and to establish an international reputation for regionally-relevant research in these areas.


    SGDIA's mission is to explore, disseminate, and contribute to, the theory and practice of government and development in the Pacific Islands. We will do this by:

    • Graduating students with a sound appreciation of developmental, political and international issues of regional significance.
    • Ensuring that our teaching develops our students' enthusiasm for learning and strengthens their capacity for rigorous analysis.
    • actively encouraging and supporting staff and student research on the challenges and opportunities facing Pacific Island states and societies.
    • Establishing SGDIA as a local, regional and global forum on Pacific government and development with the creation of a publication programme on a school-hosted website.
    • Set the highest feasible standards for academic work for both staff and students and provide whatever mentoring and training they need to meet these standards.
    • Provide both academic and practical training for Pacific professionals who are already working or hoping to work in related fields, helping them to bridge theory and applied methods.


    SGDIA Degree Programs:

  • Latest News

     University launches publication

    From left-right: Dr Kesaia Seniloli, Professor Vijay Naidu, Ms Shamima Ali (Coordinator, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre)and Head of School Assoc. Professor Sandra Tarte.

    A special issue of the Journal of Pacific Studies (JPacS) titled ‘No Ordinary Election’: The Fiji General Election of 2014 was launched at The University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva on 16 October 2015.

    Having a number of contributing writers from USP, this special issue was edited by Professor Vijay Naidu and Associate Professor Dr Sandra Tarte, both from USP’s School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA).

    The journal covers diverse topics that include: the open list system of proportional representation, electoral engineering, religion and the secular state debate, Taukei land and electoral politics, community based organisation’s reflections on the elections, impacts of the electoral system and media coverage on women candidates’ results, the use of social media by candidates and political parties, voter preferences and election results, and the question of the elections putting Fiji on the road to democracy.

    Dr Sandra Tarte said that work on the collection started at the very beginning of 2014 with a discussion between Professor Naidu and her on the importance of the forthcoming election and the special role and responsibility of USP and SGDIA to provide impartial, scholarly analysis of the historic event.

    “The expectation that we would undertake research and publish on the election was reinforced by our Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra at a meeting with him last year,” she added.

    As a first step, Dr Tarte said that SGDIA in partnership with Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and Citizens Constitutional Forum held a research  mapping workshop in July last year to identify areas of research and possible collaboration in the lead-up to  the election. This was followed by a writers’ workshop where authors presented their draft papers for the collection.

    She acknowledged Professor Naidu for encouraging the writers to complete their articles and the team of contributors for staying the course and making this collection possible.

    In launching the special edition of the JPacS, Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Ms Shamima Ali said that the journal was very significant because various aspects of the 2014 General Election was discussed in a relatively impartial way in one volume.

    “As this was the first General Election since the coup almost eight years ago, it was important for researchers to document as many aspects of the General Election so that future elections can benefit from their findings,” she stated.

    She further elaborated that the special issue will be a crucial resource for people interested in Fiji’s electoral politics and politics in general, as well as for Fiji scholars, students and observers.

    Ms Ali said she appreciated the chapter on women candidates and how women fared better in the latest election.

    She recommended the special edition to be read by political leaders and aspirant leaders, scholars, journalists, NGOs, feminists and the wider community.


    Associate Professor Manoranjan Mohanty receives the Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Page updated: Monday, November 02, 2015
School of Government, Development and International Affairs
The University of the South Pacific
Private Bag, Laucala Campus,
Suva, Fiji
Tel: +679 323 2297
Fax +679 323 1523