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‘Understanding Oceania’ book launched at USP

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From L-R: Professor Brian P. Schmidt, ANU VC; CO-Editors Prof Vijay Naidu and Prof Stephen Firth; and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP VC&P.

“Understanding Oceania”: Celebrating The University of the South Pacific (USP) and its Collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU) was launched at USP’s Laucala Campus on 12 June 2019.

Co-editored by Professor Vijay Naidu, Professor in Development Studies at USP’s School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA) and Professor Stewart Firth from the Australian National University, the book celebrates the collaboration of USP and ANU in research, doctoral training, teaching and joint activities.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP Vice-Chancellor & President was pleased to officiate at the event alongside Professor Brian P. Schmidt, ANU VC  and he congratulated the writers from both institutions saying that USP and ANU has had a truly long-standing relationship.

He commented that the launch is a revival of this link between ANU and USP and it is encouraging that the two universities will continue to forge ahead together in many areas of collaboration.

Professor Ahluwalia added that the launch is the beginning of a very productive relationship and commended the contributors and editors for highlighting the key challenges facing the Pacific.

Professor Schmidt, also a Nobel Laureate said USP had a great history and will certainly a promising future. He congratulated all those involved in the joint research enterprise between ANU and USP.

“It has been a deep long-term relationship. One of the things we forget is just how important education is. Being touched by education in any way, shape or form empowers people and empowerment of people will help us to prosper in decades and centuries to come,” he said.

He assured that although it was his first visit to USP it will certainly not be the last, therefore ANU’s relationship with USP will continue to be maintained.

“We are living in interesting times and ANU has been here for more than five decades, we will continue to be here and by working together we can contribute to prosperity and this is only possible through a partnership in education,” he added.

Seven of the nineteen (19) contributors to the book who are currently based in Suva, spoke briefly about their contributions and their participation in the academic life of both ANU and USP. They also talked about why the subjects they wrote on matters in the Pacific including how the collaboration of USP and ANU contribute to understanding them. 

Twelve (12) of the book’s nineteen (19) contributors gained their doctorates at ANU, most of whom, before or after being students and/or teaching staff at USP.

The remaining five embody the cross-fertilisation in teaching, research and consultancy of the two institutions.

The contributions to this collection, with a few exceptions, are republications of key articles on the Pacific Islands by scholars with extensive experience and knowledge of the region.

This news item was published on 13 Jun 2019 12:13:34 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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