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Bradford academic hears about ‘Ocean of Peace’ plans on Fiji trip


Two people stand next to each other as one receives a small box from the other

An academic from the University of Bradford met the President of Fiji during a visit to the South Pacific country.

Dr Colins Imoh, Assistant Professor, Peace Studies and International Development at the University of Bradford, was part of a delegation of UK academics who travelled to Fiji to learn and support the Prime Minister of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka’s, vision of the Pacific Islands as an ‘Ocean of Peace’. 

Mr Rabuka is championing the concept of the region as an ‘Ocean of Peace’, embracing peace as the highest virtue among that area’s countries.

He has previously stated an ‘Ocean of Peace’ would help minimise foreign aid dependency, and see an increase in development, tourism and investment.

Two people stand next to each other and shake hands while one holds a University of Bradford tote bag

The ‘Ocean of Peace’ concept is seeking support from the 18-member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and New Zealand, when it next meets in Tonga this August.

Dr Imoh’s group visit was held to hear diverse representative groups’ views around Mr Rabuka’s concept of the Pacific as an Ocean of Peace and to support the initiative.

Dr Imoh also offered gifts to President of Fiji, Wiliame Katonivere, during their meeting, held in the country’s capital, Suva. The UK delegation of academics specialising in Peace-Studies and Peace Building who visited Fiji were from the universities of Bradford, London School of Economics, Oxford and Winchester.

five people wearing the same Hawaiian style shirt stand next to each other

The UK contingent was led by Professor Sue Farran of Newcastle University, a UKRI-funded Research Fellow at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), based in the Asia Pacific Research Group. The week-long visit aims to be useful to the MOFA for taking forward the idea of the Pacific as a Zone of Peace within and beyond Fiji.

Dr Imoh, invited on the trip by Dr Brian Jones, Fiji’s British High Commissioner, said: “I had the privilege of engaging in insightful discussions with various stakeholders in Fiji. 

“The experience was not only educational but also eye-opening, providing me with valuable insights into the Pacific and Prime Minister Rabuka's Ocean of Peace initiative.

“The trip illustrated how ideas can be developed collaboratively. From a statement of intent, the concept of the ‘ocean of peace’ has gained significant traction as a crucial factor in ensuring the survival and well-being of communities.

“It was a meaningful opportunity to actively contribute to this important endeavour's success. Peace is not illusive but is possible if all stakeholders join hands to make it happen."

The UK academics’ Fiji visit was facilitated by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office with the endorsement of the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).