As soon as known as the South Pacific or the Pacific Islands, Oceania is without doubt one of the most expansive areas on the planet. Spanning from the japanese to the western hemisphere, the island nations and territories which make up Oceania share pure options corresponding to sandy white seashores and glowing blue water, however in addition they host comparable issues corresponding to water air pollution, rising sea ranges, poisonous waste and extinction of species.
“The islands’ small scale and ecological sensitivity signifies that the environments are fragile, among the most fragile on the planet,” mentioned Mele Wendt, former
Keynote Speaker: Mele Wendt
Govt Director for Fulbright New Zealand who holds a New Zealand Order of Benefit (MNZM) for her service to governance, the Pacific group, and ladies. Wendt delivered one of many keynotes in a current occasion centered on Oceania—the fifth in a collection of digital occasions celebrating the launch of The Global School at WPI. Shared regional and world challenges and issues are on the coronary heart of those digital discussions, which not solely highlight points dealing with a geographical space, however take a look at how WPI, by means of its challenge facilities, analysis and exterior companions, can collaborate with companions world wide to handle academic, financial, and environmental challenges and alternatives.
Holger Droessler, the occasion’s second keynote speaker, mentioned the significance of figuring out the historical past of Oceania in understanding its current and future potential. An affiliate professor of historical past at WPI, Droessler has printed quite a few articles in regards to the colonization of the Pacific islands that has formed the islanders’ cultures and beliefs.
“I discover this some of the superb chapters in human historical past,” mentioned Droessler, including he’s “awestruck by the engineering navigational feats of the ancestors of the Pacific Islanders and their potential to navigate the huge ocean, discover islands, settle there and proceed on.” Nevertheless, regardless of a shared historical past of colonization, the nations’ geographical distance, land and dimension distinction have allowed them to determine distinctive identities. What works in Australia (inhabitants: 25.4 million) won’t achieve success in Papua New Guinea (inhabitants 8.7 million) which underscores the necessity for collaboration—together with with the indigenous populations. In truth, the panel dialogue, “Engaging Diverse Partners in Oceania: Indigeneity, Community and WPI Students” famous sustainable options initiatives and improvements within the area ought to embody conventional data and ecological variations which have lengthy been utilized by indigenous individuals. The mix of STEM training and cultural trade is vital in combating the local weather disaster.
Panelists: Ingrid Shockey, Aimee Mehan, Maria Bargh, Paige Myatt, Ra Smith
Reflecting on the occasion, Ingrid Shockey, WPI assistant instructing professor and co-director of the college’s New Zealand challenge heart, “My largest takeaway was the mixing of the indigenous data into the dialog amongst the scientific group, but additionally in coverage and environmental resolution making.” Shockey, who moderated the panel dialogue, added “This (integration) is pressing at this level due to local weather change. In Oceania it has lengthy been actual and related.”
The Oceania discussion board was the fifth in an occasion collection that examines WPI’s position in addressing among the world’s urgent issues and is a part of a yearlong celebration of the launch of The International College. A full recording of the occasion will be discovered here. Earlier digital discussions featured WPI’s collaboration work in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Center East, in addition to a kick-off occasion that set the stage for the collection. Video on Demand content material can be obtainable for these occasions.
The following occasion within the collection will deal with Asia March 18, from 8 to 10:30 am. Go to The Global School Virtual Event Series webpage for the agenda and to register for the occasion.