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Pacific Islands Academy of Sciences and Humanities: A Pivotal Step Towards a Resilient Future

The Pacific Islands is taking a critical step to establish an Academy of Sciences and Humanities to unify and recognize Pacific scholars and their research to inform international decisions about the region.

There is a sense of urgency in the Pacific to establish an Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It’s not just in response to regional challenges but a resounding call to unify and recognize Pacific scholars and their research to inform international decisions about the region. The Pacific is taking a critical step forward, and the global implications of this movement are profound. 

A historic agreement to establish a Pacific Islands Academy of Sciences and Humanities was reached at a meeting of 60 Pacific scholars in Apia, Samoa in October 2023. It marks a significant milestone in the shared pursuit of knowledge for a prosperous and thriving Pacific.

In the report from that meeting scholars urge that a future Academy: “represent the Pacific’s cultural diversity as well as its broad range of natural and social disciplines, and encourage science education in every form. The new body should complement the work of existing scientific, academic and diplomatic bodies and be ethical, transparent and inclusive, embracing the ‘Pacific Way’ of open dialogue, mutual respect and close cooperation.”

As we look around us, we see a world facing numerous challenges that demand our attention. The Pacific region, with its unique geographical, economic and cultural diversity, is particularly vulnerable, experiencing increasing impacts of climate change, resource extraction and environmental and marine degradation, social instability and geopolitical tensions. A Pacific Islands Academy of Sciences and Humanities can address these challenges collectively and strategically.

The complex problems we face today are not confined by national borders; they demand collaboration on an international scale. A Pacific Academy provides a vital platform for scholars to collaborate, unite, and elevate the regional voice of science to the world through the International Science Council. It’s a rallying point for transdisciplinary approaches that transcend boundaries and contribute meaningfully to decisions about our shared future.

It also holds immense promise in nurturing the next generation of scientific minds. Aspiring young scientists in the Pacific, often faced with limited resources and opportunities, stand to benefit from mentorship, career development, research funding, and invaluable networking opportunities an Academy can provide.

We envision an opportunity that empowers youth, offering them the chance to cultivate globally relevant careers right at home in the Pacific ensuring a sustainable legacy of scientific excellence that resonates across generations.

The establishment of a Pacific Academy of Science is more than a regional effort; it is a global testament and commitment to promoting sustainable development. By providing transdisciplinary solutions to complex problems, an Academy will offer independent scientific advice to governments and inform public policy for the benefit of communities not just in the Pacific but globally.   

When the Pacific Academy is realized, it will join the ranks of national and regional science academies globally as a Member of the International Science Council, playing a pivotal role in contributing to the voice of science for the global common good.

Learned academies across the world play a significant role in giving science a more authoritative and influential voice than individuals or universities can raise alone, as they stand independent from government, academic and commercial interests.

The establishment of the Pacific Islands Academy of Sciences and Humanities moves beyond a regional aspiration and is now a global imperative. It is a call to action for the international community to recognise and support the Pacific in its pursuit of knowledge for the prosperity and resilience of our shared planet. The time for this Academy is now, and the world should stand in solidarity with the Pacific as it takes this pivotal step towards a more sustainable and interconnected future.

Co-signatories: The Pacific Academy Establishment Committee
Sir Collin Tukuitonga, University of Auckland; Prof. Teatulohi Matainaho, Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea; Dr Vomaranda Joy Botleng, Vanuatu; Robert Karoro, Kiribati; Dr Eric Katovai, Solomon Islands National University; Prof. Sushil Kumar, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji; Peseta Su’a Dr. Desmond Mene Lee Hang, National University of Samoa; Salote Nasalo, The University of the South Pacific; Prof. Steven Ratuva, University of Canterbury; Prof. Ora Renagi, Papua New Guinea University of Technology; Prof Catherine Ris, University of New Caledonia; Merita Tuari’i, Te Puna Vai Mārama, Cook Islands Research Centre.

Related news: Plans to establish a Pacific academy of sciences forge ahead ➡️

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