A gathering of thinkers, doers and voices of the Vakatabu. The conference in Suva, Fiji runs from July 31 to August 2, 2023.
How shall we, as a community, a nation, tackle the effects of climate and cultural change today? What shall we leave to our children, something of value, which honours the memory of our Pasifika elders? What are the tools we have today that will help us to honour this duty, to the past and to the future?
The conference is organized around the iTaukei Fijian concept “Vakatabu” and its application processes: pause, decay , settling, healing, renewal, rejuvenation and growth. The concept is used in reference to the distilling processes in coconut oil making and cleaning of wells, and the processes of replenishing of marine life, and the rehabilitation of land. While these concepts give an air of ‘inaction’, there is an active natural process of decay, healing, renewal and transformation occurring. These traditions are deliberate non-human intervention into the natural world, allowing nature and humanity their respective spaces to renew, transform, articulate and action new development paths. These are negotiated spaces between humans and the natural world, to liberate themselves – the natural world from the extractive nature of humanity, and humanity from itself.
The conference deliberately uses this concept and its processes to stress our human duty to renew the things it creates – politics, economics, theology, development – in these negotiated spaces. This means, therefore, that we must include indigenous knowledge and culture in the Pacific development discourse. This is to emphasize the importance of the need to change our development story and the transformation of our lives.
The guest speakers, highly experienced and steeped in the spirit and memories of their forebears’ wisdom and traditions, will take us on a journey of what we have and which givse us resilience and agency, excite us with new possibilities, and will challenge us to imagine the impossible. The plenary panels will be structured as conversations between the old and the young – asking and answering the questions they pose of each other – and organized like talk-show sessions. Each will be hosted by a guest moderator. These sessions will be livestreamed.
So, register to listen, participate and reimagine a new world together!
The Institute for Mission and Research is open on Monday – Friday from 8am – 4pm except on holidays.
78 Vuya Road, Suva, Fiji