1 February 2006

A UQ academic has been elected the inaugural President of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies (AAAPS).

Associate Professor Clive Moore from UQ`s School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics was elected at the first AAAPS conference held recently in Brisbane.

130 delegates attended, representing the disciplines of history, anthropology, politics, health, museums and cultural heritage, theatre and dance, literature, cultural studies, and archives.

Also elected were Professor Margaret Jolly from ANU as Vice President and an Executive representing Pacific organisations, disciplines and Pacific communities in Australia.

Dr Moore said that the AAAPS was the new peak body for all Pacific Studies organisations in Australia.

He said the association was formed to promote the international excellence of Australian research and teaching in Pacific Studies, and its component disciplines at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. AAAPS also intended to play an advocacy role with Government, NGOs, schools, business, media and universities.

Another important aspect of AAAPS was to promote the role of Australian repositories in the collection, preservation and access to Pacific Island research, cultural and historical material.

The Association also intended to promote public knowledge and study of Australia-Pacific Island relations, and liaise with Pacific communities in Australia, with outreach to Pacific Island nations and similar associations overseas.

Dr Moore said that the formation of AAAPS was long overdue, as an equivalent organisation to the Asian Studies Association.

“Australia is a Pacific nation," he said.

"Our future is bound by geographic proximity to the Pacific Islands.

"The nations around the Pacific Ocean, in the islands and on the Asian mainland, will be most important to Australia in the future, not our older links with Europe.

"The Australian government has shown its commitment through increasing aid funds and its recent activity in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

"AAAPS will coordinate our academic approach to Pacific Studies and our relationship with the Pacific Islands."

Dr Moore said several major activities were planned, including producing a major report on the state of Pacific Studies in Australia.

The AAAPS grew out of an interim organisation which met in Canberra in October 2004 with delegates from all over Australia, representing the diversity of Pacific Studies. The impetus and seed funding came from the International Centre of Excellence in Asia Pacific Studies, established by the Australian government, with Professor John Fitzgerald as Director.

Clive Moore
President, Australian Association for Pacific Studies
28 January 2006

Mobile 0419 676123
(on annual leave until February 13 but contactable by mobile)

Or contact Professor Margaret Jolly on Mobile 0431 203168