07.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Apia

UNESCO Co-sponsors the 2nd Conference of the Pacific Islands University Research Network

In Apia on 19th - 21st September 2016 UNESCO in partnership with National University of Samoa co-hosted the 2nd Conference of the Pacific Islands University Research Network (PIURN).

The 2nd Conference of the Pacific Islands University Research Network (PIURN) was hosted by the National University of Samoa in Apia from 19 to 21 September 2016.  The conference featured participants from universities across the Pacific and focused on science, technology and innovation, Pacific arts and languages and customary land tenure systems.

It was opened by Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa.  She expressed her hope that "this conference will raise awareness and support for PIURN and enhance its profile and visibility as a potential regional thank tank".

Deputy Prime Minister Mata'afa went on to say that "among the objectives of establishing PIURN was the hope of increasing regional cooperation and support for research, especially in science, technology and innovation, within Pacific regional strategies, policies and mechanisms."

The 2nd PIURN conference provided an opportunity for researchers from the region to share their research and discuss issues of major importance.  It also provided an opportunity for PIURN members to meet and plan the future of the network.

UNESCO supported the participation of a number of speakers and post-graduate students, as well as presentations by UNESCO staff on UNESCO's most relevant programmes.  Dr. Serena Heckler, UNESCO's Natural Sciences Programme Specialist at UNESCO's office for the Pacific States presented an overview of UNESCO's work on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy as well as UNESCO's work to promote the role of women in science, including the L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Programme, which provides fellowships for women scientists around the world.

Dr. Akatsuki Takahashi, UNESCO's Culture Programme Specialist at UNESCO's office for the Pacific States, presented on UNESCO's culture conventions and Pacific Indigenous art forms and languages in the 21st Century.  Her presentation underlined the importance of "developing cultural and creative industries that capitalize on [island nations'] rich heritage and have a role to play in sustainable and inclusive growth" as stated in the SAMOA Pathway, the agreement made by the world's governments at the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States held in Samoa in 2014.

Ms. Faautu Talapusi, UNESCO Education Consultant, provided information on the education projects and policies linked to cultural heritage and the use of mother languages in Pacific classrooms.




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