School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA)


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

  • Head of School: Assoc. Professor Sandra Tarte

    Main Office Contact: (+679) 323-2382

    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 was formed in 2008, when it succeeded the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (established in 2003). SGDIA houses the interdisciplinary University course, UU200 Ethics and Governance, which is required of all USP 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 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 School 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 SGDIA Working Paper Series (SGDIA WPS) is a key component of the School's profile both locally and internationally.

    SGDIA runs the Politics and International Affairs undergraduate program and three postgraduate programs.

    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.
  • Recent News and Events at SGDIA



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

    SGDIA 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

    SGDIA 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, SGDIA 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 SGDIA, 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: SGDIA 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 School, 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 School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA). 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 School, 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 SGDIA, FBE.

    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.

    26 March 2019: Security Seminar in Japan

     The Tokyo-based Sasakawa Peace Foundation invited Associate Professor Sandra Tarte to address a seminar and panel discussion in Tokyo on 26 March 2019 on the subject 'Pacific Islands regional security after PALM 8 and the Boe Declaration 2018'. The seminar was attended by Japanese government representatives, researchers and representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum diplomatic missions in Tokyo. Also addressing the seminar was Mr James Movick, former Director General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, who spoke on the Challenges and Opportunities for Securing the Blue Pacific.

    Sandra and James were also invited to attend a JICA event on 27 March, to meet Pacific islands students studying in Japan under the JICA-sponsored Pacific Leaders' Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific LEADS) progra

     26 March 2019: SGDIA Book Launch

    Based on unprecedented documentary and field research in four Pacific island countries by scholars who know very well the cultures, histories and development trajectories of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and the Solomon Islands, the book is edited by Dr Gordon Nanau and Professor Vijay Naidu. 'Educating the People.....' is meant for educators, students and policy makers of the four countries as well as lay persons who are interested in basic education in the Pacific and its governance.

    25-29 March 2019 DLGHR Staff Participate in Diplomacy Training Workshop



    D. Natasha Khan and Mr. Anare Tuitoga took part in the 2nd Diplomacy Training Program's (DTP) 2nd regional capacity building program on Human Rights, Business and the SDGs in the Pacific: A Civil Society Capacity Building Program. This was held from 25 - 29 March 2019, at Novotel in Suva. The Diplomacy Training Program was organized in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO), Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).

    This 5-day program built on the knowledge, skills and capacities of advocates to protect and promote human rights and sustainable development in the Pacific. It also built on the knowledge of international human rights standards and mechanisms that can be applied and integrated into effective advocacy strategies. It focused on practical skills for engaging with governments and business. Participants were privileged to learn from leading experts and practitioners, share knowledge with each other, and build practical skills and solidarity networks.

    Trainers on the program included Professor Surya Deva, member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Professor Justine Nolan (UNSW Law), Amy Sinclair (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre) and Joshua Cooper.

    30-31 October 2018: The 'Rush for Oceania' Workshop

    The School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA) organised a 2 day workshop bringing together academics, civil society representatives, writers, dancers and artists. The workshop focused on considering a new research agenda exploring contemporary Oceans governance and stewardship in the Pacific.

    Click here to download a copy of the workshop report

    23rd August 2018: SGDIA Hosts its Open Day Volunteers for an Appreciation Morning Tea

    Student volunteers whose wonderful work made USPs 50th Anniversary Open Day a lively and fulfilled event were hosted by the School to Morning tea in a show of appreciation by staff members. 

    Pictured from left to right are: Shameera, Seci, Stephanie, Ernest, Adi Salaseini, Lavenia, Mohammed and Fulori

    9th August 2018: Lunchtime Seminar - From Village to Nation: Collected writings of Pacific independence by Pastor Sethy Regenvanu

    SGDIA presents this Lunchtime Seminar which will be delivered by Pastor Sethy Regenvanu. The seminar will be held on Thursday, 9th August 2018, from 12.30 - 1.30pm at the Centre for Development Studies Seminar Room (S103), Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) buildingFor further inquiries please contact Dr. Wesley Morgan, Lecturer in Politics and International Affairs, SGDIA, on either via email: wesley_m(at) or phone: +679 3231924. Click here to view the flyer for the event. 

    2-13 July 2018: Honiara Diplomacy Workshop

    In 2016, The University of the South Pacific (USP) received a request from the Solomon Islands Government for the delivery of a Graduate Certificate in Diplomacy and International Affairs as an in-country program for senior public servants from the Solomon Islands. In 2017 two courses, comprising the Graduate Certificate program, were delivered in Honiara, as two-week flexi-courses offered to senior public servants. In 2018 the Graduate Certificate program is again offered to senior Solomon Islands public servants. The first of the two courses to be offered in 2018 was the PL409 course.

    Click here to download a copy of the workshop report

    More information on SGDIA's past events

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Page updated: Monday, July 27, 2020
School of Government, Development and International Affairs (SGDIA)
The University of the South Pacific

Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji
Tel: +679 323 1000