1992 Nijmegen Conference


Nijmegen, 17-19 December 1992


On 17, 18 and 19 December 1992 the First European Colloquium on Pacific Studies was held in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. More than 120 people gathered at the University of Nijmegen to discuss issues related to the theme of the conference: “Transformation and Tradition in the South Pacific”. This theme is related to contemporary developments in the region. It proved to be sufficiently broad in scope to cater for the diverse research interests of the participants. Many academic disciplines were represented, including anthropology, sociology, linguistics, history, psychology, geography, development studies, politics and gender studies.

The majority of the participants came from Europe but there was also a considerable number of scholars from the USA, Canada and the Pacific. Some sessions of the conference programme were open to the general public: attendance at some of these sessions exceeded 160.

The conference was organized by the Centre for Pacific Studies (CPS) but it would have been impossible to do so without the generous funds made available by the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation (DGIS), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, at the University of Nijmegen. We whole-heartedly thank these institutions for their vital support.

The organisation of the conference began in January 1992 when the board of the newly established Centre for Pacific Studies decided that it would be a good thing to try and bring European Oceanists together. As manager of the Centre for Pacific Studies, Ton Otto was given full responsibility for the organisation, both academic and practical, while the board members provided assistance and ideas and generally acted in an overseeing capacity. Special mention deserve two members of this board. Prof. Frans Hüsken, chairperson of the Department of Anthropology, initiated the idea of a Pacific conference and supplied essential logistic and moral support and Dr. Ad Borsboom, chairperson of the Centre for Pacific Studies, substantially contributed to aspects the organisation. In May Antoine Vanhemelrijk was appointed assistantmanager and he skilfully took charge of the many administrative chores that are part of organising a conference of this size. From September onwards Mrs Cora Govers joined the organising committee. Her extensive organisational experience, especially in practical and financial matters, and her capacity for hard work proved invaluable assets. Last but not least, Ron Dautzenberg, Bart Hoogveld, Jacqueline Pijl, Caroline van Santen and Tjitske van der Veen, offered their help and assisted the organisers in all kinds of practical matters during the conference.