Poetry anthology gives voice to human rights

“My voice does matter, someone will listen, we can make a change whether to write poems or not.  What you do matters.”

That was the message of Tongan student,  Anna Jane Vea, at the launch of a book of poetry ‘Rising Tide’ in Suva recently.

The Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women Programme launched the human rights and social justice themed poetry anthology for secondary school students. The Partnership aims to integrate human rights studies into community and school discussions.

Speaking during the launch of the ‘Rising Tide’, the Head of Political, Trade and Information at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Galia Agisheva underlined the significance of the publication in terms of promoting discussion of ‘sensitive’ in the region such as women and girls’ rights and LGBTQ rights.

“This collection of the Pacific poems, will undoubtedly generate inspiration for the young generation for which it is aimed,” she said.  “This young generation is the rising tide of the Pacific, can become agents of change of attitudes, in their lives, in their communities, in their countries, and also globally.”

The University of the South Pacific’s Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia commended the initiative, and explained that its recognition of Pacific poets and creative arts is parallel to USP’s objectives.   

“This is something the University has committed to, not just through the Oceania Centre but also through the School of Languages, Arts and Media Pacific Writing Forum,” he said.

Reading her poem, ‘Sorry’ during the launch, Anna Jane Vea, shared her gratitude for being included in the publication and denoted poetry as a powerful medium to connect different people.

Copies of ‘Rising Tide’ were handed over to nine secondary school students during the launch and VCP Professor Ahluwalia stated that copies of book would be made available at the USP Book Centre soon.