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George D. Hoa’Au


Name: George D. Hoa’Au

School: School of Government, Development and International Affairs

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrolment: PhD (Politics, Diplomacy and International Affairs)

Research Area:

Pacific Regional Governance and Legitimacy: Inclusion and Participation of Civil Society and the Private Sector

Supervisors: Associate Profs. Sandra Tarte (USP) and Greg Fry (ANU)

Current Research Summary:

This research aims to conduct an investigation into the question, why has Pacific regional governance had a continuing problem with legitimacy, and what has consequently affected its effectiveness? In the Pacific island region, the problem has led to new models being experimented on by the region’s premier organisation, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the recently established Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). As such, this research will also investigate to what extent has their current models of inclusions been seen as successful in reducing the current democratic deficit, and thereby establishing legitimacy of regional governance in the eyes of pacific society?

Testimonial- Graduate Assistant Scholarship Scheme (GASS):

I did undergraduate studies (BA and PGDip) at USP. However, after doing a Master of international law at the Australian National University (Canberra), I decided to return back to USP for PhD studies simply for various practical reasons – all good ones! On one hand, I have always believed, and still believe that USP offers that unique ‘centre of gravity’ around which, scholarship on the pacific Islands by Pacific islanders should be nurtured, encouraged and reimagined. Conversely, since my research is on Pacific regional governance (PIFS and PIDF), where else would a researcher would choose to be stationed? It has to be Suva (De facto Pacific capital of regionalism?).

Finally, in certain island sense, this scholarship scheme can be likened to a Pacific fale under which, my aspirations, questions, struggles and plans to be a better learner meet organised USP institutional support and mentoring. Simply put, this scholarship scheme, Research office staff and my supervisors support have indeed become that collective ‘essential wind’ beneath my goal of wanting to make my 2-cents contribution to Pacific scholarship.