The University of the South Pacific has a proud history of student activism. ATOM (Against Testing on Moruroa) formed in Fiji in 1970, and many of its founding members were USP students and academics. In 1975, ATOM organised the first Nuclear Free Pacific Conference, and the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific group was born.
Fast forward almost 50 years and nuclear legacy issues have seen a resurgence in the Pacific.
Pressure has intensified in French Polynesia to make compensation available to more people exposed to radiation during French nuclear testing there. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons finally entered into force this year. And the Pacific has joined in condemning recently-announced Japanese plans to discharge one million tons of wastewater from its Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean.
Amidst this, a new generation of student activists have taken up the mantle, raising awareness amongst their fellow students.
Wayne Kijiner is the current president of the Marshall Islands Student Association (MISA), an organisation of Marshallese students based at USP and the Fiji National University, who are working to raise solidarity around nuclear and other environmental issues amongst their peers.
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