Australia’s first-ever specialist college to support security across the Pacific region has been launched at The Australian National University (ANU).

Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, officially opened the new Australia Pacific Security College (APSC), which will be led by ANU Associate Professor Meg Keen.

The APSC was created in August 2019 to support the implementation of the Pacific Island Forum Boe Declaration for Regional Security, and advance the expanded security agenda that focuses on climate, environmental, human and traditional security.

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the APSC is an educational institution to service all Pacific Islands Forum countries, and will help strengthen regional security through collaborative learning and enhanced people-to-people relationships. Its courses are being designed with extensive regional consultations.

The APSC brings together experts, policymakers and security practitioners from around the region to work through security challenges and identify opportunities to address national and regional security priorities.

“The APSC leadership will work with Pacific governments to navigate the increasing complexity of regional security and tailor our program to their needs,” APSC Director Associate Professor Keen said.

“Our end objective is to be an asset that Pacific countries can call on to develop their strengths and pursue their security interests.

“ANU is a university committed to securing the future of Australia and our region. We know that the only way to prove our value is through our actions.

“The APSC will focus on regional cooperation in tackling the Pacific’s broad-based security challenges, including climate change, human security, environmental management, and traditional security issues.”

Associate Professor Keen said the APSC had already “hit-the-ground listening”.

“We have travelled to meet with leaders in Pacific Island countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands,” she said.

“Through these visits we are getting to understand the security priorities of the region, as well as where the gaps lie for professional education and training.”

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the College would draw heavily on the University’s 50 years of deep Pacific expertise and networks in the region.

“ANU continues to be one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Asia and the Pacific,” Professor Schmidt said.

“This College is another powerful example of how our researchers and teachers drive Australia’s work with the Pacific on some of the region’s biggest and most pressing challenges.”

Press Release