Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs

School of Law and Social Science (SoLaSS)

Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs

Government, Development and International Affairs 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 GDIA 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.

Government, Development and International Affairs was formed in 2008, when it succeeded the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (established in 2003). GDIA houses the interdisciplinary University course, UU200 Ethics and Governance, which is required of all USP undergraduates. 

Government, Development and International Affairs 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 Pacific Islands 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. GDIA holds a Lunch-time weekly seminar which brings together local and international students and scholars as well as practitioners with an interest in the governance and development of the Pacific region. In conjunction with the Weekly Seminar Series, the GDIA Working Paper Series (GDIA WPS) is a key component of the School’s profile both locally and internationally.

Government, Development and International Affairs runs the Politics and International Affairs undergraduate program and three postgraduate programs.

Government, Development and International Affairs Vision and Mission

The vision of the Discipline 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.

Government, Development and International Affairs’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 Government, Development and International Affairs 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.
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