The University of the South Pacific (USP) recently hosted the Pacific History Association’s (PHA) 24th Biennial Conference, with 300 registrants participating in online presentations and debates.
This was the third time the University had hosted the PHA and the first time the conference has taken place entirely online.
The History Department of the School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS) successfully coordinated 33 panels, a book launch, a film screening, and several board meetings, which attracted Pacific experts from around the world.
The conference theme, “In Their Own Words“, paid tribute to the work of the late i-Kiribati historian, theologian and USP staff, Rev. Dr Kambati Uriam, to encourage innovative indigenous scholarship, which addressed both historical and contemporary Pacific issues.
USP History students recorded personal greetings in their languages. Three keynote speakers, Dr Tarisi Vunidilo, Rev Dr Latu Latai, and Myjolynne Kim, demonstrated that Pacific History scholarship is renewed and relevant with examples of their cutting-edge research on histories of Fiji, Samoa and Chuuk, respectively.
Adjunct Associate Professor Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano remarked on the significance of this biennial gathering for the Pacific.
“The pandemic has created a window of opportunity for talanoa and collaboration, and the fact that we’ve been able to meet as an association has demonstrated that nothing is impossible when it comes to collaboration concerning our core function of story-telling, teaching and research,” he added.
Recordings of the opening and closing sessions of the conference can be accessed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvREXBLKrCiGO8GdNWrtJ-w