Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs



    About Us

    The Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs programmes 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. Programmes 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.

    This discipline also houses the interdisciplinary University course, UU200 Ethics and Governance, which is required of all USP undergraduates. 

    Our 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. The Discipline 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 discipline's profile both locally and internationally.

    The discipline also runs the Politics and International Affairs undergraduate program and three postgraduate programs.

    Our Vision and Mission

    The vision of this 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.

    The Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs 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 GDIA as a local, regional and global forum on Pacific government and development with the creation of a publication programme on a discipline-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.




    Recent News and Events at GDIA

    3 November: Lecture by HE the Ambassador of Japan to USP Politics Students

    Students of GDIAs PL101 (Politics and Development) course, were treated to a guest lecture by HE the Ambassador of Japan to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu

    21 September: Panel Discussion on New Caledonias Second Referendum

    The Discipline of Government, Development, and International Affairs with the support of the Government of New Caledonia, hosted a panel discussion on New Caledonia’s upcoming second referendum. On the panel were;

    Ms. Denise Fisher - Australian National University,

    HE Dame Meg Taylor – Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum

    Rev. James Bhagwan – Secretary General of the Pacific Conference of Churches

    Mr. Nic Maclellan - Journalist

    To watch the video recording of the panel discussion, please click HERE.

    GDIA Partners with MaiTV, Oxfam in the Pacific and the Pacific Network on Globalization to host the Reset Fiji series.

    GDIA was proud to partner with MaiTV, Oxfam in the Pacific and the Pacific Network on Globalization to host the Reset Fiji series.

    The RESET Fiji series is a "people's Post COVID 19 dialogue series" that started on 14 June with the RESET Fiji: Economy panel. Over seven weeks we have had panellists propose novel, bold and innovative ideas and solutions to respond to the impact of the pandemic on their sector. Their proposals were captured in the following panels:

    • RESET Fiji:Agriculture
    • RESET Fiji: Environment and Climate Change
    • RESET FIJI: Innovation and Technology
    • RESET Fiji: Tourism
    • RESET Fiji: Gender Equality
    • RESET Fiji: Education

    For further details see: You can access all the photos/audio/transcripts and panel portfolios at the following link:


    25-27 February: GDIA hosts the kick-off meeting of the Pacific Centre for Social Responsibility and Natural Resources (PACSEN)

    GDIA joined forces with the French National Research Institute of Research for Sustainable Development (IRD), and other regional and international partners, to convene a three-day workshop that launched the next phase of the Pacific Centre for Social Responsibility and Natural Resources (PACSEN). PACSEN’s objective is to contribute to the framing of integrated, responsible and sustainable management of natural resources in order to improve people’s wellbeing throughout the South Pacific. The network combines fundamental and applied/policy-oriented research, to bridge gaps between scholars, policy-makers and civil society organizations, and strengthen capacities and expertise of all these stakeholders in natural resource governance frameworks. The workshop attracted around 30 participants from academia, civil society and CROP agencies, and included a special session for USP postgraduate research students. This was the first in a series of workshops over the next four years, with funding support from IRD. The next meeting will be convened by the Agronomic Institute of New Caledonia in December 2020.


    Seminar: 5 March 2020

    Seminar: 13 February 2020


    27 September 2019: Special Panel Discussion

    GDIA organised a special panel discussion on the drivers and implications of Solomon Islands' changing diplomatic relations with China and Taiwan. This event attracted an audience of well over a 100, including many Solomon Islands students.

    25 September 2019: Building connections with the University of Hawai'i's Center for Pacific Islands Studies


    On 25 September, GDIA hosted a lunch for the Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies (CPIS) at UH, Associate Professor Dr Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, and Outreach Director of CPIS, Dr James Viernes. The two UH academics visited USP to discuss potential areas of collaboration, especially partnerships in teaching and learning. On 27 September, Dr Kabutaulaka was part of a panel discussion, organized by GDIA, on the drivers and implications of Solomon Islands' changing diplomatic relations with China and Taiwan. This event attracted an audience of well over a 100, including many Solomon Islands students.

    13 September 2019: Prayer Vigil for West Papua

    The University of the South Pacific Human Rights Program Alumni in partnership with Youngsolwara Pacific hosted a prayer vigil for victims of the recent violence in West Papua.

    12 July 2019: GDIA Welcomes New Staff in Politics and DLGHR

    The school welcomed Mr. Romitesh Kant (Pictured Left) and Dr. Milla Vaha (Pictured right). Dr. Milla Vaha has been appointed as a Lecturer in Politics and is now coordinating the Politics of Development course (PL101). Mr Romitesh Kant has been appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights program.

    5 July 2019: Meeting with Solomon Islands Government Parliamentary Delegation Task Force on ROC Taiwan and PRC China Relations

    Head of Discipline, Associate Professor  Sandra Tarte and Director of Development Studies, Professor Matthew Allen, recently met with a Parliamentary delegation from the Solomon Islands. The Task Force Committee on Taiwan ROC and PRC China Relations was in Fiji to hold consultations with the Fijian Government, as part of a Solomon Islands' parliamentary review of its future relations with Taiwan/ROC and the People's Republic of China. The delegation was led by Hon John Moffat Fugui  and included Hon Jamie Vokia, Hon Rolland Seleso, Hon Rex Ramofafia and Hon Titus Fika MP. They were accompanied by Mr Bernard Bata'anisia, and Mr Mcfaddean Aoraunieaka, from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    12 June 2019: ANU-USP Book Launch - "Understanding Oceania"

    This book is inspired by the University of the South Pacific, the leading institution of higher education in the Pacific Islands
    region. Founded in 1968, USP has expanded the intellectual horizons of generations of students from its 12 member
    countries—Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and
    Vanuatu—and been responsible for the formation of a regional elite of educated Pacific Islanders who can be found in key
    positions in government and commerce across the region.

    Click here to view the full book launch flyer

    Click here to access an electronic copy of the book

    21 May 2019: Book Presentation to Solomon Islands Minister for Education and Human Resources Development

    At a function for Solomon Islands staff and students, the Minister for Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) of the Solomon Islands was presented with a copy of the bookEducating the People: Governance of Primary Education in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and Solomon Islands, 2000-2013’ edited by Dr Gordon Nanau and Professor Vijay Naidu of the Discipline of Government, Development and International Affairs (GDIA). The presentation was observed by Mr Francis Tavava, Solomon Islands Education Attaché in Suva, with Solomon Islands students and staff present. The book is both a comparative study of the four PICs and in-depth studies of primary education governance in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

    16 May 2019: Visit by UN Secretary General

    UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres met with women's advocates for a discussion on the impact of climate change on gender equality in the Pacific. The discussion was facilitated by Head of Discipline, Associate Professor Sandra Tarte, and organized by UN Women. It was held on USP Laucala campus on 16 May

    11 April 2019: Documentary Launch and Panel Discussion

    Film Launch and Panel Discussion for Parenting in the Smart Age: Fijian Perspectives - The film examines how has parenting changed with the introduction of smartphones and social media, including how parents and young people in urban Fiji manage the use of technologies in their day-to-day lives.

    Venue: Oceania Centre Pavillion, The University of the South Pacific

    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

    4 April 2019: Launch of USP and United Nations Pacific Regional Anti Corruption Project

    USP through its partnership with United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC) and UNDP, aims to deliver a 200 level anti-corruption course, which would be imbedded in the Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights (DLGHR) programme, which is based within GDIA, School of Law and Social Science.

    UNDP/UNPRAC funding for this project is F$103,512. This will support the new course development, promotion and delivery for the course in first semester of offering. This would ensure that the anti-corruption course is sustainably offered beyond the duration of the UNPRAC project in the Pacific.

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Page updated: Thursday, January 21, 2021
School of Law and Social Science
The University of the South Pacific
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