From heart-to-heart chats to 'national conversations', dialogue is often held up as a model of responsible and productive interaction. Yet at times, calls for more dialogue seem to mask monological presuppositions that 'everyone' will end up agreeing to the same thing.

In this talk, Professor Matt Tomlinson examines the different meanings of monologue and dialogue and the ways they are related in political and religious speech. Drawing on detailed and long-term ethnographic research in Fiji, Samoa, and Australia, he describes the ways in which political and religious speakers make claims about what counts as dialogue, who gets to participate, and what happens when dialogue fails to take shape or falls apart. Examples come from diverse contexts ranging from casual kava-session conversations to formal chiefly oratory and from spirit mediums’ dialogues with the dead to preachers’ assertions of what they consider universal truths. In examining the relationship between monologue and dialogue, Matt explores themes of challenge, vulnerability, consensus, and commitment. Ultimately, monologue and dialogue can be seen as always co-present tendencies in particular political and religious speech genres.



6-7pm Academic Lecture

7-7.30pm Networking drinks & canapes


About the Speaker

Matt Tomlinson is Professor at the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific.

He is a sociocultural anthropologist who studies the relationship between language, politics, and religious ritual. His work focuses on how people organise themselves to communicate with 'extrahuman' figures (including God, ancestors, and spirits) and what social effects such ritual communication has.

Matt's diverse research interests encompass various aspects of Oceania, including Fiji, Samoa, and Australia. He delves into language, culture, religion, ritual, theology, Christianity, and spiritualism.

Read more about Matt's profile here.


Professorial Lecture Series

This public lecture is the second in a series of four lectures that aim to celebrate our esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.



Please join PhD candidate Lauren Bland as she provides an update during her research journey.

Lauren's research delves into the evolving dynamics of partnerships for climate crisis resilience building in the Pacific region, with a specific focus on Aotearoa and its engagement with Pacific nations. Through critical analysis, it will aim to uncover the benefits and challenges of the Aotearoa-Pacific partnership and shed light on its impact on the Pacific’s capacity to build resilience against climate-related challenges. Central to this, is the examination of resilience discourse in climate and development policy frameworks, addressing the complexities and critiques surrounding this concept in a pluralist social landscape. This research is grounded in qualitative methods and seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of building valuable partnerships for climate crisis resilience. It aims to provide policy recommendations for meaningful collaboration in the Pacific region, with a strong emphasis on climate justice and more profound Pacific engagement by Aotearoa. 

Event Speakers

Lauren Bland

Lauren Bland

Originally from Ngunnawal (Canberra) having moved to Aotearoa in 2014, Lauren Bland is a PhD candidate from the University of Canterbury based in Ōtautahi (Christchurch). She holds a BA in political science and media and communications and an MA focused on democracy and human rights development in Cambodia.

Professorial Lecture Series

This public lecture is the third in a series of four lectures that aim to celebrate our esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.

About the event

Intra-state conflicts have become ever-more common in the past forty years. Since WWII, more than half have recurred within five years of being resolved, usually by some form of agreement. Many such conflicts originate in disagreements about resource exploitation, and they tend to recur even more rapidly than others.

It is common for intra-state conflicts to initially involve, or give rise to, demands for territorial control of part of the country concerned and hence involve self-determination issues. In various parts of the Pacific and Asia, post-conflict constitution-making/constitution-building has seen movement away from the influence of colonial constitutional models and the development of some innovative approaches to conflict prevention and/or resolution.

In this presentation, drawing on over forty years of experience of involvement in efforts to use constitutions to prevent or resolve such conflicts in eight countries in Asia and the Pacific, as well as Uganda, Professor Anthony Regan considers what might be learnt about sustainable conflict prevention and resolution through choices not only of processes for constitution-making and amendment, but also the content of both new constitutions and constitutional amendments. In relation to process, the issue of broad-based inclusivity is of critical importance. In relation to constitutional content, he examines some possibilities for compromises on demands for ‘external’ self-determination; ‘creative’ possibilities for ‘internal’ self-determination; and approaches to resolution of resource exploitation-related conflicts.



6-7pm Academic lecture

7-7.30pm Networking drinks & canapes


About the speaker

Professor Anthony Regan is a constitutional lawyer, who has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for 17 years, where he was a lawyer for various government bodies, and taught at the University of Papua New Guinea. He has undertaken constitutional advising work in Uganda (full-time for over three years, 1991–94), Timor L’Este, Fiji, Solomon Islands and India (in relation to resolution of the Naga secessionist conflict). He has been a long-term adviser to the Bougainville parties during the Bougainville peace process, and 2002–04 was an adviser to the Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly that developed the Constitution of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Anthony's diverse research interests include constitution-making processes, constitutional design in conflict resolution, and conflict analysis and resolution, especially in conflicts involving identity, resources and self-determination issues.

Read more about Anthony's profile here.



Please join PhD candidate Ms Leituala Kuiniselani Tago-Elisara as she provides an update during her research journey.

Leituala Kuiniselani Tago-Elisara’s doctoral research re-examines the Boe Declaration and security in the Pacific. It explores the application of the conceptual framework, A Malu i Fale e Malu i Fafo, and an indigenous methodology embedded in Pacific philosophies and epistemologies. The seminar will explore how using indigenous framing can help to decolonise a regional security framework that is relevant, responsive and resonates with Pacific people. This seminar will also highlight the challenges and practicalities facing researchers when conducting security studies research in the Pacific region. This mid-term review seminar will include reflections upon fieldwork, ahead of the data analysis and thesis write-up processes. Using examples from Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa, some key lessons and observations will be shared that may be of benefit to other scholars and researchers.

Event Speakers

Ms Leituala Kuiniselani Tago-Elisara
PhD Scholar

Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago commenced her PhD with DPA in 2020. She is a regional public servant with extensive leadership experience in the Pacific region.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a hybrid event and will take place in-person as well as on Zoom.

The idea of ownership was put at the heart of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the key policy for global aid reform, in 2005. Despite the global consensus in Paris, ownership emerged as a contested idea.

In this final seminar for her doctoral thesis, Suzanne O’Neill presents her research which examines the influence of the idea of ownership on development partnerships in two Pacific countries, Samoa and Kiribati. Her research unpacks the model for policy change underpinning the idea of ownership in the Paris Declaration. The findings show that local policy actors attributed a different significance to ownership. Instead, policy actors chose to assert locally-situated values and beliefs around aid and development. This reflected the exercise of ownership in each site in ways that contested the policy logic claimed by the Paris Declaration. It challenged Australia’s expectations of aid relations.

Event Speakers

Suzanne O’Neill

Suzanne O’Neill

Suzanne O’Neill is a PhD Candidate with DPA. She has extensive experience as a development practitioner across remote Australia and the Pacific. Her research interests are equity in development, the influence of ideas on policy change and interpretive methodologies, particularly oral histories.

Join us to explore the ongoing development and challenges of Pacific regionalism over the past decade.

Joel Nilon has spent the last 10 years working on issues that are at the heart of Pacific Regionalism. His presentation will explore the ongoing development and challenges of Pacific regionalism over the past decade, emphasising the significant issues Pacific Island Countries have united around, including climate change, ocean governance, environment and resource management, social inclusion, security, and economic issues. His presentation will also unpack the various shifts in framing and perspective, with a focus on the Blue Pacific Narrative, a strategic vision that grounds Pacific regionalism in the aspirations of Pacific peoples and their unique context, and calls for a more coherent, inclusive and impactful approach to regionalism. His presentation will also discuss why. despite the narrative's endorsement at the highest levels and efforts to integrate its principles across various sectors, the narrative has not yet achieved its full potential as a catalyst for deeper regionalism. Joel's presentation will conclude with recommendations for enhancing Pacific regionalism, focused around the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the Review of Regional Architecture, to ensure that the region's development reflects the collective ambitions of its peoples.

Photo by Jovi Waqa on Unsplash

Event Speakers

Joel Nilon

Joel Nilon

Joel Nilon was a Policy Adviser at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for the past 9 years, during which time he also supported the Office of the Secretary General. He focused on driving and advancing the Pacific's strategic policy frameworks - including the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and more recently the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Pacific states and peoples inside global climate change negotiations (UNFCCC COP): from consensus, coherence to ‘climate updated’

For more than 35 years Pacific islands’ states and peoples have led and shaped the global agenda in global climate change negotiations. This seminar will detail the multi-year research that traces, follows and works with Pacific states and peoples inside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of the Parties. In utilising Global Talanoa (global political ethnography and talanoa) the research gives access inside the negotiations where the project has studied and provided research brokerage for leaders, state delegates and civil society in the negotiations over the years. Situated at the intersection and interplay of international politics and climate change, it follows the work of Pacific states from the Paris COP21 in 2015, to the recent Sharm El Sheik COP27 in 2022 – how they have held space in shaping and influencing the negotiations agenda. The ‘Pacific society’ of officials, diplomats, civil society, activists and leaders have not only help build, but also reach consensus on climate action. Moreover, the research explores the coherence of various regional mechanisms, political processes and coalitions Pacific states have established over the years to manage the negotiations. Through research brokerage and ‘climate updated’ the presentation provides insights to the future of negotiations – and the case for the Australia and Pacific Islands climate change COP.

NOTE: this is a hybrid seminar. For online attendance please sign up to receive the Zoom link.

The recording of the seminar is available below:

Event Speakers

George Carter is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics and Regionalism, at the Department of Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University (ANU).

Join our panel discussion about the 2023 New Zealand election and its impact.

Want to know more about the recent New Zealand election? Join our exceptional panel of Aotearoa New Zealanders as they unpack the ‘why’ and ‘what next' of the 2023 general election and what it could mean for Pacific countries and people.

The evening includes a brief background of the recent election, a facilitated discussion among three outstanding New Zealand academics based in Australia, and a Q&A session.


Professor Dominic O’Sullivan (Te Rarawa, Ng­āti Kahu) is Professor of Political Science at Charles Sturt University, adjunct professor at Auckland University of Technology, and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society Te Ap­ārangi.

Dr Areti Metuamate (Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāti Haua) is an educationalist and Vice Warden at Ormond College, University of Melbourne

Dr Kerryn Baker is a Research Fellow in the Department of Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University.

Facilitated by Jayden Evett, a PhD candidate and New Zealand studies specialist with the Department of Pacific Affairs.

NOTE: this is a hybrid event. For online attendance please sign up to receive the Zoom link. Pre-event canapes will be held in the atrium from 5.30pm. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is a hybrid event and will take place in-person as well as on Zoom.

Each year, a significant number of New Zealand teenagers migrate to Australia in pursuit of their dreams in the National Rugby League (NRL). Almost all have focussed on sport rather than school and almost all never make a professional sport debut. Dislocation from family, faith, and friends is sudden and relocation is often traumatic with a recognised morbidity and mortality from subsequent mental health issues.

Join PhD candidate Siaosi Gavet as he presents a summary of his PhD thesis findings, which explore this issue.

Siaosi’s qualitative research project has investigated the experiences of NRL players who successfully transitioned from New Zealand and has explored the perspectives of wellbeing and education stakeholders from NRL clubs. The overwhelming themes to emerge from stakeholder interviews and Pacific talanoa, were pre-relocation preparation, and lifting the minimum age for relocation. Siaosi also proposes policy recommendations to enhance the duty of care and allow for consistency across the NRL clubs.

We cordially invite you to an evening celebrating the highly anticipated launches of three extraordinary publications.

1. Islands of Hope: Indigenous Resource Management in a Changing Pacific 

Edited by: Paul D’Arcy, Daya Dakasi Da-Wei Kuan
Publisher: ANU Press

The first book to be launched, Islands of Hope, is a distinguished collection of essays that illuminates the indomitable resilience and strength exhibited by Pacific Island communities in the face of numerous challenges. Featuring the work of esteemed contributors from across the region, including many DPA staff and students, this volume offers a poignant glimpse into the lives and cultures of Pacific island nations. Join us as we acknowledge the authors’ work and celebrate their contributions to this publication.

2. Federated States of Micronesia's Engagement with the Outside World

Authored by: Gonzaga Puas
Publisher: ANU Press

Federated States of Micronesia's Engagement with the Outside World delves into the intricate history and relationships that have shaped the nation's engagement on a global stage. This book provides profound insights into the multifaceted interactions that have moulded the Federated States of Micronesia's position in the world.

3. The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean Vol 1&2

General Editor: Paul D’Arcy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean comprises a comprehensive chronicle of the Pacific's illustrious past, present, and future. This magnum opus stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of its authors, who have meticulously crafted a comprehensive account of the region's history. The essays by various distinguished authors emphasise the impact of the deep history of interactions on and across the Pacific to the present day how the postcolonial period shaped the modern Pacific and its historians.

Please join us as we celebrate the launch of these three exceptional publications that traverse the history and future of the Pacific. This celebration will take place in the Coombs Tea Room HC Coombs Building, Australian National University on Tuesday 25 July from 5-7pm.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please join PhD candidate Geejay Milli as she provides an update during her research journey.

Please note that this is a hybrid event. For online attendance please sign up to obtain the Zoom link. Access link will be delivered via email one day prior to the event.

Women’s political representation in the Pacific has garnered much interest from researchers, international non-governmental and governmental organisations and civil society groups due to the low rates of female representation in national and sub-national politics. This seminar will introduce proposed research that will explore this issue in depth with a focus on Papua New Guinea. To better understand how women participate in political processes, this research will investigate two case studies, which include the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the Motu Koita Assembly.

A parliament with low gender representation does not necessarily mean women are not active participants in politics. Often, a concentrated and sometimes biased focus is given to women’s political representation in parliaments, hence deeming as insignificant other important ways women participate in politics. The participation of women in politics is not one dimensional, rather the researcher argues that relegating women’s politicking and participation to ‘women only issues’ presents a restrictive view of the many other ways women are essential, valuable and influential in their immediate communities. Women are concerned with far more issues than just issues that impact gender.

Geejay Milli is a PhD student at the Department of Pacific Affairs from Papua New Guinea. Her research looks at the case studies of Bougainville and the Motu Koita Assembly with a focus on the participation of women in the political process. Her research area of interests includes politics and elections in Papua New Guinea, women's political participation and representation and the implementation of gender quotas in the Pacific. Prior to her studies, Geejay was teaching at the University of Papua New Guinea with the Political Science Department.

Event Speakers

Geejay Milli
PhD Scholar

Geejay Milli is a PhD student at the Department of Pacific Affairs from Papua New Guinea.

Does international affairs fascinate you? Gaining insights from industry representatives can help you clarify your career aspirations and make informed choices.

ANU Careers and the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs warmly invite International Relations, Diplomacy, Security Studies, Pacific Studies, and Political Science students to attend the upcoming panel discussion on future careers and meet potential employers. This is an opportunity to hear from a range of organisations (private sector, consulting, the UN and the Australian Government) so that you can better understand the job market and help you plan ahead for your career after study.

The speakers for the panel are:

*David Brown - Operations Manager at Systems Planning and Analysis

*Louisa Minney - Director in Advisory at PwC

*Maria Shumusti- Communications Officer at World Food Program (WFP), Fiji office; and

*A representative from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Agency

Gain insights from the speakers on what their organisations do and opportunities they offer students.

The ANU Careers team will also discuss how to find information about the job market and job search strategies including how to understand job advertisements.

Event Speakers

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Louisa Minney

Louisa is an experienced senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in facilitating strategic change across government, multi and bi-lateral organisations and academia in Australia and internationally.

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David Brown

David joined SPA Australia following a 24-year career as a Weapons Engineer with the Navy. David served on submarines and warships. His shore postings in capability development stimulated his interest in using operations research to provide mission-focussed, evidence-based decision support for complex and critical topics.

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Maria Shumusti

Maria finished a Master's in International Relations at ANU in 2020. Maria oversees the communications and media for WFP in the Pacific. She is currently running the Donate Responsibly campaign that informs people about why during disasters, not all goodwill does well and highlight effective and responsible ways to donate.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a hybrid event and will take place in-person as well as on Zoom.

The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) has been operating for 20 years, a partnership between the ANU and the universities of Melbourne and Sydney, and mainly focused on records in languages that are otherwise under-represented on the web. The urgent task the PARADISEC focusses on is finding and digitising analog tapes that are at risk of loss, as there is a deadline of 2025 after which tapes will become unplayable. As they built the necessary structure to hold and describe these files, they also broadened the holdings to include manuscripts, photographs, film, dictionaries, text collections, and other representations of language or cultural performance. PARADISEC also holds a significant number of born-digital files arising from fieldwork over the past 20 years.

A major development over time has been the relationships that PARADISEC has established with agencies in the Pacific, like the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and the Solomon Islands National Museum, to support their digitisation programs and to return materials that were previously only held in Australia.

In this seminar Nick Thieberger will show how PARADISEC's new systems can increase access, permitting sub-collections to be delivered to local cultural agencies containing material relevant to that country. He will outline how PARADISEC works, some highlights of its Pacific collection, and how to find material in the collections.



Nick Thieberger, University of Melbourne

Nick Thieberger set up the Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre in the late 1980s, then worked at AIATSIS. His PhD research was in Vanuatu and his main focus has become finding, digitizing, and providing access to language records, primarily through the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) of which he is Director. He currently also leads the development of Nyingarn, a platform for manuscript sources on Australian languages. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne.