Peace in the Pacific
|Professor Kevin Clements|
Vanuatu’s tribal chiefs and University researchers will learn from each other through a new five-year project.
The role of Vanuatu’s traditional leaders in development and conflict resolution will be strengthened as part of a five-year research project supported by UQ and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at UQ will partner AusAID and the National Council of Chiefs of Vanuatu (the Malvatumauri) in the project.
The Council of Chiefs initiated the project, with AusAID contributing $77,000 to the pilot progam.
Professor Kevin Clements, Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at UQ, said the project was a good example of the University’s research being put to practical use.
The collaboration is focused on delivering four main initiatives.
- It will support the National Council of Chiefs, Island Council of Chiefs, Area Council of Chiefs, Ward/District Council of Chiefs and Village Council of Chiefs in strengthening the Malvatumauri structure through training and support for strategic, administrative planning and ongoing training in peaceful development.
- It will provide training in conflict management, resolution and transformation and leadership skills, as well as workshops to identify the role for Chiefs in development.
- It will also identify possible areas of local conflict, and knowledge about how to combine traditional leadership with ideas gained from the program in supporting peace, security, economic and social development.
- Finally, it will help provide a capacity to improve the knowledge, understanding, skills and strengthen the roles of community leaders by exploring links between development frameworks and building peace.
Professor Clements described the agreement as an “exciting collaboration”.
“This capacity building partnership offers a great opportunity for the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and the University to learn from each other and for the University to support the Chiefs in enhancing their strengths and capacities,” Professor Clements said.
“It is a partnership that seeks to draw on both traditional and modern perspectives and a development project based on mutual respect.
“We see this as another example of the Centre putting research to practical use and at the same time drawing important research value from applied projects.”
The Chiefs identified the need for capacity building so they could better define their roles in relation to formal government, enhance their participation in the development process and manage the rapid social changes taking place within their communities.
Australian Agency for International Development
The University of Queensland
Professor Kevin Clements www.uq.edu.au/uqresearchers/researcher/clementskp.html
Dr Anne Brown www.uq.edu.au/uqresearchers/researcher/brownma1.html
Professor Nadja Alexander www.uq.edu.au/uqresearchers/researcher/alexandernm.html
Dr Polly Walker