Don’t Ever Whisper (Biography of Darlene Keju)

darlene_coverby Giff Johnson, published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 17, 2013) via

You may also read more about the book at its website

This biography “tells the powerful story of a woman from a tiny Pacific island who championed the cause of nuclear weapons test survivors when others were silent, and who later implemented unparalleled community health programs and services that gave hope to a generation of troubled youth. Don’t Ever Whisper is the stirring account of Marshall Islander Darlene Keju’s struggle to gain an American education despite disadvantages of language and resources, and to use that education first to expose to the world a United States government cover up of its nuclear weapons testing Continue reading

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From Angkor Wat to Rapa Nui

angkor-wat-2 Moai on Rapa Nui

Ever visited an UNESCO World Heritage site or wanted to learn more about these amazing places? Here is your chance to learn how UNESCO works, who decides which sites are deemed worthy of World Heritage status and how to nominate a site to the World Heritage List. In Semester Two 2013, ASIA3050 / 6050: From Angkor Wat to Rapa Nui: UNESCO World Heritage in Asia and the Pacific will give you the opportunity to explore how ‘heritage’ is argued internationally. This year, the course will be held as a one week intensive from the 28th October – 1st November 2013.

The course was developed by Dr Christian Reepmeyer based on his experience in successfully inscribing a heritage property to the World Heritage List. In 2012, the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon Area was inscribed as only the fifth World Heritage site in a Pacific Small Island Developing State to the World Heritage List based on its natural and cultural values. We will learn about concepts of cultural and natural World Heritage and how they are defined by UNESCO protocols. On the basis of specific case studies we will understand ideas behind ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ and why this concept is both important and contentious. Through the course, you will learn about the challenges and the satisfaction that comes from assisting local communities with the promotion and management of their heritage! Specialists with long-term experience in World Heritage will share their insights from projects in Vanuatu, Tonga, Cambodia, Micronesia and Central Australia.

This years’ format, as an intensive one-week course, is well suited to off-campus and interstate students. It will include lectures, practicals and student presentations. Students will have the opportunity to assess World Heritage Site nominations in discussion groups and challenge their knowledge in quizzes.

For more information, contact

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Mid-year at the Melanesian Spearhead Group

“This year, as predicted, is shaping up to be one of great significance for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and its constituent members…” [read more].

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New Pacific Islands Field School course at ANU

This new Pacific Studies course introduces students to the Pacific through practical engagement with the islands. The emphasis is on integrating formal learning with first hand experience. The in-country work will include fieldtrips, practical assignments and formal classes and tutorials given by staff from ANU. The course focuses on understanding the complex relationships between development, tangible and intangible heritage and cultural production.

Students will have the opportunity to experience and contribute to practical issues in the culture and heritage field including the visual and performing arts, the environment, education, development and policy work. Where possible, students will be incorporated into related in-country research projects with the appropriate ethics approval and meeting the required OH&S standards.

The course involves 4-5 weeks of intensive teaching and field experience including preparatory lectures and workshops at ANU before departure for the Pacific. We seek to run it as a topics course with options for offerings in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Hawai’i, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea.

Spring session, 2013, will be a field school in Samoa in partnership with the new Samoa Arts Council, the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Center Polynesia Outreach Program and lecturers at the National University of Samoa. More information is available at;details.html

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Navigating Pacific Studies

Navigating_Pacific_StudiesSemester Two 2013 will see the introduction of an entirely online course into the Bachelor of Pacific Studies syllabus – a first for Pacific Studies at the ANU. PASI 1011 / 6001: Navigating Pacific Studies has been jointly developed by Dr Roannie Ng Shiu and Dr Jack Corbett and the ANU’s CAP Digital Learning Team. The course will also be offered at The University of Western Sydney and Griffith University. The course is designed as a gateway into debates about theory and practice that shape how we conceptualise and think about the region and its peoples.

The course is built around three learning modules – the past, present and future. We explore the voyages that brought people to the region and the stories they tell about their journeys. We investigate colonisation, the impact it had and still has on the region, and the different ways it can be understood. In the recent present we examine the new voyages that Pacific people have taken into places like Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In doing so we look at how people move within and between these new boundaries and how Pacific cultures and identities have evolved over time and place. Finally, we bring all of these themes together by considering how the past and the present can help us imagine possible futures for the peoples of the Pacific islands.

As this course will be delivered online it will look and feel somewhat different to other courses. Firstly, there are no lectures. Instead, each module is made up of a series of podcasts that introduce the readings, propose questions and identify themes. Students will then have the opportunity to discuss these texts with the course convenors in weekly online discussion forums – much like tutorials. In addition, assessments tasks – glossaries, discussion posts and essays – have been designed so as to encourage peer-to-peer learning outside designated discussion slots.

The course is co-convened by Roannie ( and Jack (, with additional teaching input from Dr Jioji Ravulo of UWS. If you want to know more about Navigating Pacific Studies please do not hesitate to contact one of us.

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SPC Public Health Division’s new Scientific and Technical Expert Group

On 16-17 June 2013, The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Public Health Division (PHD) held a meeting in Noumea to establish a new Scientific and Technical Expert Group. The group is intended to “guide PHD’s future direction and priorities, and contribute to quality assurance for our work, including scientific publications and advice to the Pacific Island countries and territories.” Learn more about the new advisory group and its members.

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Vale Dennis O’Rourke (1945-2013)

orourkeThe friends and colleagues of Dennis O’Rourke are deeply saddened by the death of one of the greatest documentary makers of his generation. Dennis died of cancer on June 15 in his home in Cairns surrounded by his partner Tracey Spring and his five children, Bill, Davy, Celia, Xavier and Sophie.

His unique cinematic style defied conventional narrative and notions of objective reality in pursuit of larger truths about the human condition. As an artist with exceptional vision, Continue reading

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West Papua – advocacy, dialogue & engagement

On the eve of the MSG Leaders’ Summit, the Pacific Institute for Public Policy argues that, “it’s time to talk frankly and openly about West Papua’s future. Melanesian leaders face a question integral to their collective identity: How and whether West Papua should be given membership in the sub-regional group…” [read more in this PiPP Editorial].

Read the posts that accompany this editorial: The long walk to freedom (by Dan McGarry), West Papua: the MSG’s opportunity to begin to right a wrong (by Jennifer Robinson) and Economic and social indicators in West Papua (by Jim Elmslie).

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Vale Helen Hughes (1928-2013)

Helen_HughesHelen came to The Australian National University in 1983, a whirlwind of ideas and action. She was on a mission to create the university’s first graduate school and to anchor it in the economics of development with a primary focus on the Asia Pacific region, and with a strong contingent of overseas students. I met her then.

Initially the university was not impressed – not about the idea of a new graduate school, nor about a large number of overseas students. Today the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU Continue reading

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Pacific Buzz (June 19): MSG summit underway | Deep-sea minerals | Fisheries agreements | Tonga budget | More

A roundup of political and economic news by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and  Development Policy Centre.

“Political leaders and officials from Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s indigenous political movement–the Front De Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS)–have gathered in Noumea for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit…” [read more].

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Summary of main themes emerging from the conference on Sorcery & Witchcraft-Related Killings in Melanesia, 5-7 June 2013, ANU, Canberra

sorcery_collage_2This three day multi-disciplinary conference focused on the negative social consequences of belief in sorcery and witchcraft in Melanesia (the conference booklet with program, abstracts and speakers is available here).  Approximately half the speakers were from PNG, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands and the other half were from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.  Below is a summary of some of the main themes to emerge from the discussions, in no particular order.

Continue reading

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Time for coordinated action on equity funding for Pacific SMEs

When it comes to equity funding in the Pacific, there has never been a lack of anecdotal evidence of some success and many failures [of Small and Medium Enterprises]… To investigate the possibility of broadening access to finance for firms of all sizes, the Asian Development Bank engaged John Hardin, an expert on equity investment in the Pacific, to  (1) document lessons learned from recent and current private equity funds and facilities in the Pacific (including Kula Funds I/II, the Enterprise Challenge Fund and private equity funds in PNG, Fiji and Samoa), (2) assess the unmet demand for equity investments in the region, and (3) determine the feasibility of a new investment fund targeting smaller firms that could provide funds to allow them to grow and achieve their potential…. [read more].

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Development Policy Centre Annual Report 2012

The ANU’s Development Policy Centre has a mandate to “research and promote discussion of – aid effectiveness, the Pacific and PNG, and development policy”. Read more about their work in the Development Policy Centre’s 2012 Annual Report.  If you don’t have time to read the full report, read the summary pages for activities in 2012 and objectives for 2013. For a hard copy of the report, contact Macarena Rojas.

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Welcome, Salmah Eva-Lina Lawrence!

salmahevalina1Salmah Eva-Lina is a new PhD Candidate in Gender, Sexuality and Culture. She left a decade long career with a global business advisory firm leading risk management practices in London, New York and Sydney to undertake work in international and community development to enhance gender rights, working primarily in Papua New Guinea and in Afghanistan with the UN. She has a BA (Hons) in Political Studies, Philosophy and History from the University of London, a Master in Business Administration, a MA in International Relations (International Political Economy and Global Governance), and a Master of International and Community Development (all from Deakin University) and sits on the board of directors of several organisations, including an international NGO.

Salmah Eva-Lina’s research work is centered around her home community of Kwato Island, Milne Bay (Papua New Guinea). Her research project, in her own words, is inspired by Continue reading

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Jobs: SSGM Pacific Research Fellow Positions

The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is seeking to appoint two Pacific Research Fellows with ongoing research interests in Melanesia (PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia), Timor Leste or West Papua. Continue reading

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