Following the Southeast Asia Regionalism lecture, the third part of the International Lecture Series on Regionalism organized by the Department of International Studies of Miriam College was held on 28 November 2020 via Zoom. This session on Regionalism took the audience on a journey to the Pacific with Dr. George Carter as the Resource Speaker. Dr. Carter, a Research Fellow from the Australian National University, specializes in the fields of Geopolitics and Regionalism.
In his lecture, Pacific Regionalism: Small States Engagement with Big Issues, Dr. Carter illuminated the audience through his expertise on the region’s history, political development, and the trends and challenges that are happening in the Pacific. He began his lecture by saying that the Pacific is a diverse region which "cannot be painted with one stroke.” The region composed of fourteen nation-states and nine territories is one of the most sought-after regions by many big and powerful states such as China and the United States as well as middle powers in the region like Australia and New Zealand. Dr. Carter emphasized the growing importance of the Pacific on the international stage as the rivalry between these superpowers continues. Prof. Lorna Israel, the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Department of International Studies, shares the same views that small states like the countries that comprise the Pacific pose important answers to big questions of the 21st century.
After the presentation of Dr. Carter, intellectual exchange of dialogue between the audience and the international expert speaker ensued. The audience was composed of more than 100 participants from various local and international universities, public and private sectors, and international organizations. In a scholarly manner, Dr. Carter addressed burning issues concerning the Pacific such as the role and responses of the Pacific states in dealing with regional security issues and challenges.
Prof. Jonalyn Villasante highlighted the key takeaways from Dr. Carter’s lecture and ended the discussion with a positive note: “Despite the challenges faced by this region, man-made or not, the essence of regionalism in the Pacific is the belief that the only sustainable path is when all countries in the region progress together.” On behalf of the Department of International Studies, she also expressed her gratitude towards Dr. Carter for enriching the minds of the participants who attended the lecture. -- By Nicole Ruivivar