Japan helps Samoa with science academy

Hideyuki Shiozawa, Senior Program Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. (Photo: Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo)

Samoa is preparing to establish a Regional Science Academy with support from the Japanese government revealed by Hideyuki Shiozawa, Senior Programme Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. 

This is a significant development aimed at boosting the representation of Pacific nations on the global platform.  

“The purpose of the academy is that the idea came from the International Science Council. In the international academic area, the work from research or work from Western countries is limited. One of the reasons is because of the lack of platforms,” said Shiozawa. 

He said the vital role of the academy is to provide a platform for researchers and universities to submit their work to the international arena. 

The Regional Science Academy, in collaboration with the National University of Samoa, aims to act as an encouragement for fostering a stronger presence of the Pacific voices in global conversations, particularly on critical issues such as climate change.  

“So because of that, each academic has a chance to connect to the international arena,” Shiozawa added. 

The academy’s significance lies in its potential to bridge the gap between Pacific countries and the international academic community, offering a platform for researchers from the region to have their voices heard.  

“We believe that after building the scientific academy, people in Pacific countries are not influenced by anybody. The people of the Pacific can understand the data or analyse the data themselves. It is a very important thing,” said Shiozawa.  

This initiative is poised to address the imbalance in global knowledge creation and dissemination by providing a space for the Pacific countries to contribute meaningfully to international academic discourse. The meetings leading up to the launch of the project cost USD$300,000. 

With the impending launch of the academy, anticipation is mounting not only in Samoa but also across the wider Pacific region. As preparations for the launch are underway, the international community is eagerly awaiting the establishment of this influential platform that is set to elevate the voices and perspectives of the Pacific on a global scale. 

Furthermore, plans for the official announcement coincide with the upcoming CHOGM meeting in October, where the Regional Science Academy is expected to be unveiled and is the first in Samoa.  

Shiozawa has travelled to Samoa many times during his work at the Peace Foundation and said he is very fond of the landscapes, especially in Savai’i. When it comes to Samoan attire, he loves to purchase island T-shirts from Eveni Carruthers.  

“When the Japanese have an image of the South Pacific, Samoa is one,” said Shiozawa. 

Other projects in line with the Peace Foundation schedule with Samoa is with Samoa’s Justice Affairs. 

“We call justice diplomacy, but like cooperation in the justice affairs. It doesn’t include law enforcement,” said Shiozawa. 

Samoa’s Minister of Justice Matamua Seumanu Vasati Sili Pulufana will be invited to Japan in July. 

“We are planning to support our Minister of Justice to organise a workshop or any exchange in the justice sector between Samoa and Japan,” said Shiozawa