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The fourth annual symposium on Papua New Guinea will be held in conjunction with the Pacific Adventist University at PAU's beautiful Koiari Park campus in Port Moresby. It takes place on the 15th September, 2014.
It will take place on 15th September, and this year's symposium theme will be 'PNG and the World'. Academics, practitioners, observers and commentators in PNG, Australia and around the world are invited to express their interest in taking part in the symposium through making presentations, reading papers, and chairing panel discussions.
Perhaps as never before, PNG is engaging with the world, giving rise to new and complex questions that require considered attention and discussion.
Through its relationship with Australia, PNG is bound up in the complex and difficult matter of international asylum seeker politics, and is currently grappling with the implications of its 2013 decision to participate in Australia's regional resettlement policy. What role can or should PNG play in this issue?
In 2014 the first revenues from the colossal PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project will arrive, bringing with them the promise of economic bounty but also the challenges of managing profound change to the nation's economy and society. What challenges are implicit in these large-scale resource projects? How will they affect the survival of ‘traditional’ PNG?
Vision 2050 has set the goal for PNG to be 'ranked in the top 50 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index'. Are there other factors, such as happiness or particular Melanesian ways and values, that need to be considered to establish a more nuanced measure of development and well-being than the Human Development Index? Does the long-term framework in Vision 2050 provide a more realistic ambition than the 2015 Millennium Development Goals?
It is not only PNG that is changing; the geopolitics in the region and the world are also in flux. China, a growing world superpower, is increasingly active in PNG and the Pacific. Looking westwards, PNG's immediate neighbour Indonesia is experiencing a major democratic transition in 2014 with presidential, parliamentary, and provincial elections. What impacts on PNG will these geopolitical shifts have, and how should PNG respond? How could, or should, these impact on PNG’s relationship with Australia and with its colonial past?
PNG is also connected to other parts of the world by important flows of ideas, beliefs, people, and material goods. The growth in use of Information Communication Technologies, including mobile phones and the internet, are creating new possibilities for connections with outsider people and places, and for projecting PNG voices within the world. At the same time, Papua New Guineans are physically travelling outside of the country more, and further, than ever before. How do these flows affect the ways that PNG relates to other nations?