New partnership builds bridges across the Pacific

25 July 2014

Pacific studies students at The Australian National University could find themselves based in Hawaii as part of their research under a new agreement with the University of Hawaii.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities anticipates student exchanges enabling graduates from either of the institutions to visit the other.

Pacific Studies Convener, Dr Katerina Teaiwa, initiated the MOU with Professor Margaret Jolly and master’s student Nicholas Mortimer, with the support of the College student office and the School of Culture, History and Language.

“This formalisation of cooperation between two internationally renowned centres of Pacific research will help inspire students to imagine a future dedicated to engaging Oceania,” she said.

The programs will also open the way for research collaboration and undergraduate exchanges between the two universities, with potential collaboration between the libraries of the two universities.

Trans-Pacific engagement between ANU and the University of Hawaii dates back to 1948, the same year the Research School of Pacific Studies at ANU was established.

Today, more than 250 academic and professional staff, PhD candidates and others at ANU, are actively researching and studying in the Pacific region.

The University of Hawaii offers 92 fields of study for bachelor’s degrees, 84 fields for master’s degrees, and 51 fields for doctoral degrees.

Both institutions complement each other in disciplines including archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, history, astronomy, cultural studies, and environmental sciences.

To kick off the MOU, Dr Teaiwa will take 15 undergraduate and three postgraduate students to Hawaii for a Pacific Islands field school in November.

“They will collaborate with students and staff at the Centre for Pacific Islands Studies in the areas of visual and performing arts, heritage, migration, and social issues,” she said.

The MOU was signed in June, when University of Hawaii Chancellor Tom Apple visited the ANU.

The agreement will run for five years.