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Over 200 delegates gathered in the Cook Islands this Tuesday to participate in the three-day 5th Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN) Conference.

Focused on “Exploring this Sea of Islands”, the conference engaged the work of one of the Pacific’s most revered academics, Epeli Hau’ofa and highlighted the diversity of research in the region.

The three-day conference brought together Pacific Universities from Papua New Guinea to Samoa, French Polynesia to Fiji, Solomon Islands to Vanuatu, and colleagues from neighbouring universities in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Hosted by the University of the South Pacific (USP) Cook Islands and  Te Puna Vai Marama (Cook Islands Centre for Research), the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network has implemented 17 collaborative projects since its inception in 2013, including a documentary, Nations of Water, on climate-induced migration.

Co-Chair of the PIURN Conference, USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia commended the notion of such union between Pacific scholars.

“For us, having so many scholars of the Pacific coming together to share their research offers the opportunity for each of us to connect, support, and, transcend all forms of insularity, to become one that is openly searching, inventive and welcoming’, he said.

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