An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

Meʻelaufola (2008)

Sept. 2018 – PM attends 4th 'IFH Memorial Lecture

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Institute director Sisiʻuno Helu, Assoc. Prof. Peter Field, Hon. PM ʻAkilisi Pōhiva

On 24 Sept. ‘Atenisi hosted Hon. Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva and political advisor Lopeti Senituli at its fourth annual memorial lecture in honour of its founder, Dr ‘Ilaisa Futu Helu. Former Minister of Finance, Dr ‘Aisake Eke, also attended.

The talk – “The United States in the South Pacific” – was delivered by Associate Professor Peter Field, Dean of Research at the University of Canterbury’s Faculty of Arts. On past sabbatical leave, the historian has twice been visiting fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University in the U.S.

In historical review, Field explained why resistance to colonialism was more militant in what has become the Independent State of Samoa than it was in American Samoa, which has been a U.S. territory since 1900. Yet the territory remains the only U.S. possession whose residents are denied U.S. citizenship.

Field next described the welcomed, but nevertheless jarring, stationing of nearly 10,000 U.S. soldiers in Tonga at the onset of World War II in the Pacific. He contrasted this commitment to the recent rejection of the Trans-Pacific trade agreement by the Trump administration.

Previous 'IFH memorial lectures have been delivered by Prof. Steven Ratuva of the Macmillan Brown Centre, Prof. Niko Besnier of the University of Amsterdam, and Edward Jenner, M.A., formerly of the University of Malawi.