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Pacific geopolitics under spotlight at Foreign Policy School

The Clocktowers clock

Tuesday 26 March 2013 3:32pm

This year’s University of Otago Foreign Policy School will bring together an impressive line-up of national and international speakers to explore key geopolitical issues facing the Pacific.

The speaker line-up features leading scholars along with representatives from diplomatic, development and political spheres, including former Fijian Prime Minister Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka and former New Zealand Ambassador Michael Powles.

The Otago Foreign Policy School, which is in its 48th year, gathers academics, students, policymakers, diplomats and members of the public to discuss and debate pressing issues in international affairs. It is being held at St Margaret’s College on the University’s Dunedin campus from Friday 28 June until Sunday 30 June.

Titled “Pacific Geopolitics in the 21st Century”, the latest School will focus on themes including the United States and China’s growing engagement in the Pacific, the uncertain prospects for Fiji’s return to democracy, Pacific nations’ efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and the extent to which countries can work together at a regional and sub-regional level to address issues central to the above areas.

School Co-Director Dr Iati Iati says he anticipates that given the issues being addressed, and who the presenters are, this will be one of the marquee events in New Zealand for Pacific geopolitics for quite some time.

“The issues are some of the most pressing in the Pacific region, and we hope that the School will make a positive contribution to the Pacific and New Zealand foreign policy towards its neighbours.”

Current speaker line-up:

  • Professor Terence Wesley-Smith (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
  • Dr Alumita Durutalo (University of Otago)
  • Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka (Former PM of Fiji)
  • Associate-Professor Penelope Schoeffel (National University of Samoa)
  • Dr Steven Ratuva (University of Auckland)
  • Michael Powles (Former NZ Ambassador)
  • Associate Professor Tarcissius Kabutaulaka (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
  • Dr Gerard Finin (Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center, Hawai’i)
  • Professor Jon Fraenkel (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Dr Kennedy Graham (Green Party MP)
  • Associate Professor Anne-Marie Brady (University of Canterbury)

The School begins on the Friday evening at 5pm with a cocktail function and opening by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Murray McCully and finishes Sunday at 5pm.

Visit the Otago Foreign Policy School website for more information about the School, registering and fees.

For more information, contact:

Dr Iati Iati
48th University of Otago Foreign Policy School
Tel 64 3 479 8665

Associate Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau
48th University of Otago Foreign Policy School
Tel 64 3 479 3974

About the Foreign Policy School

Since its inception in 1966, the University of Otago Foreign Policy School has developed into one of the premiere events in New Zealand's international calendar. Originally started as a workshop on foreign affairs issues, the School soon attracted the attention of New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which recognised its value as a weekend retreat for officials.

Representatives from other government bodies such as the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Defence, as well as academics, journalists, diplomats, members of the private sector and NGOs, and interested members of the public also participate regularly.

Visit the University of Otago Magazine website for an article on the School.

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