In February, the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) launched an interactive seminar series with the University of French Polynesia (UPF) using video-conferencing technology. The Pacific Connections Seminar Series is part of a ten-step plan developed by Terence Wesley-Smith (CPIS) and Jerry Finin (PIDP) when they met with UPF faculty in Tahiti in December 2011. The meetings were initiated to increase faculty and student exchanges between the campuses and to help bridge the Anglophone-Francophone divide in Pacific scholarship.
The seminar series uses video-conferencing technology to stream presentations from either Tahiti or Hawai‘i and to facilitate discussion between participants in both locations. UPF and UH/EWC alternate responsibility for the monthly presentations. The series began in February with UPF’s Serge Dunis addressing the topic “[Re]connecting Hawai‘i and Tahiti: South Pacific Perspectives on Hawai‘i and Pacific Travel in the Precolonial Period.” In March, David Chappell (UHM History) drew on research from his forthcoming book to present “Flags, Human Heads, and Movies: Challenges of Seeking a Common Destiny in Kanaky New Caledonia.” In April, Vāhi Sylvia Richaud’s presentation from Tahiti “Polynesian Linguistics” demonstrated the potential of the communications technology and allowed the audience in Hawai‘i to enjoy performances including ‘orero (oration) and dance by musicians, dancers, and singers at UPF. Vāhi’s presentation was part of “Tahitian Day”, a special series of events at UHM that included a morning of Tahitian dance, ‘orero, music, and food organized by Te Reo Tahiti professor Steve Te‘urahau Chailloux and an afternoon reading by visiting Tahitian novelist and poet Chantal Spitz.
The UPF and UH/EWC agreement also includes hosting visiting scholars. In December, CPIS and PIDP/EWC hosted Professor Phila Raharivelomanana, director of the BIOTEM Laboratory at UPF, and in February, Yves-Louis Sage, associate professor of Pacific Law at UPF. In late April, Sémir Al Wardi, lecturer in Political Science at UPF, visited the Mānoa campus and presented a lunchtime seminar “Democracy in French Polynesia” on 25 April.

  • Steve Te‘urahau Chailloux addressing participants at Tahitian Day