The University of the South Pacific has published a special themed edition of the Journal of Pacific Studies (JPacS) focusing on peace and conflict.

Edited by Shailendra Singh and Dr Desmond Amosa, the journal has attracted papers exploring conflict prevention and peace-building from the political, education, arts, media, gender and civil society perspectives.

Mr Singh is the former head of USP journalism currently studying for a PhD at the University of Queensland. Dr Amosa, also a former USP academic, is now the Dean for the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship at the National University of Samoa.

This special issue is a collaboration between the University’s Faculty of Business and Economics and the UNDP Pacific Centre. The aim is to focus attention and stimulate research on conflicts in the region, looking at possible prevention and peace-building initiatives.

The peer-reviewed journal has received papers from authors based at the Auckland University of Technology, the University of Otago, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of the South Pacific.

An editorial in the journal notes that while the Pacific region is regarded as peaceful compared to other parts of the world, conflicts are on the rise.

The four coups in Fiji between 1987 and 2006, the riots in Tonga in 2006, ethnic conflict in Solomon Islands in the late 90s, sporadic tribal fighting in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and rumblings in New Caledonia exemplify the nature of conflicts in our region, which is ‘Pacific’ by name but not always so by nature, the editorial said.

It further comments that the Pacific has its own strong, if sometimes dormant, mechanisms for keeping peace. These traditional mechanisms are culturally entrenched, valued and respected; hence they should be studied and explored.

Finally, this issue also examines the role of the media in building a peaceful region. Peace journalism, a relatively new concept, is discussed as a potential way forward.