Off to Auckland for Lowy Institute Pacific Conference: 4-5 September 2011

The Lowy Institute through the kind referral of wantok Alexander Rheeney has invited me to attend their Pacific Islands and World Conference in Auckland next week Monday.

The theme for the Conference is ‘Realising the Pacific’s Potential’. The event will engage the private sector, civil society and governments in discussion on the various means the Pacific region can act on opportunity.

The conference will draw on a large pool of regional and international talent to discuss examples of best practice in global development, and to consider the key questions we face as investment and international interest in our region intensifies: how can Pacific countries best manage windfall gains for the benefit of all citizens?  What lessons can be learned from other parts of the world? How can the Pacific’s links with the global economy be leveraged for a sustainable future?

I have been specifically asked to discuss my digital media projects and experience at Masalai and more specifically the impact of innovations in telecommunications and social media. I have never spoken at such a large conference before so yes I am absolutely nervous about it all, especially since the speaker after me is the Digicel Pacific CEO, Vanessa Slowey.

But what I can say is that in the last 3 months alone I have seen a huge increase in the discussions on facebook. Matt Morris from ANU pointed out how facebook had tripled between September 2010 and February 2011. But since February this year that number has further doubled to today’s population of roughly 54,000 PNG registered facebook users.

For Masalai that has meant that we have had to look into how our clients can capitalize on this opportunity and more so with our AusAID projects it gives us a great opportunity to promote a level of dialogue and social interaction which we have never been able to do before.

There are allot of other related experiences which I will be sharing at the conference, but if you have any thoughts or ideas on what I can share with everyone at the conference please feel free to jot them down here.

If you have specific questions that you want to put to the Lowy Institute at the Conference then please share it with them on their facebook page.

You can also get a copy of the agenda here.

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