USP Cook Islands to host the 5th Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN) Conference


The University of the South Pacific (USP) Cook Islands Campus is organising, with Te Puna Vai Marama (Cook Islands Centre for Research), the 5th Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN) Conference, on 4-6 July 2023.

The PIURN Conference will be focusing on “Exploring this Sea of Islands,” engaging with the work of one of the Pacific’s most revered academics, Epeli Hau’ofa.

With 220 delegates from all over the Pacific (Hawaii to Fiji, Papua New Guinea to Samoa, French Polynesia to Australia), the PIURN Conference highlights the diversity of research in the region.

It brings together academics, researchers, and students to meet, exchange and discuss the common challenges this “Sea of Islands” faces. From politics to biodiversity, linguistics to art and filmmaking, and communities to indigenous knowledge, the delegates will experience new methodologies and discover potential research collaborations.

A special celebration, a “Festschrift”, of one of the most revered researchers of the Cook Islands, Dr Marjorie Crocombe, and USP Alumni, will be hosted on Wednesday, 5 July, to commemorate her incredible scholarly contribution.

Thirty scholarships for PIURN Members, Universities Students and Early Career Researchers have been sponsored and awarded for them to participate in this unique event and a great opportunity to meet academics from the region and present their research work in front of a high-level audience. They will also participate in the research workshops on Thursday, 6 July.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Honourable Mark Brown, will officially open the ceremony on Tuesday, 4 July.

The Conference will also celebrate PIURN 10-years anniversary.

The network, officially founded in 2013, brings together Universities from the Pacific Islands countries and territories, which collectively decided to dramatically join efforts and work together to enhance their capability to address the challenges faced by the region.

For 10 years, with 14 Members Universities, they managed to support the development of closer collaboration among their researchers and academics while addressing social priorities, economic growth and environmental challenges in the Pacific Region. PIURN strengthened the cooperation between Pacific Universities, connecting languages, geographies and cultures across the sea of islands. Co-chaired by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the University of New Caledonia (UNC), PIURN is labelled by the United Nations as a Sustainable Development Goals Action: #SDGAction39993

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