The Melanesian and Pacific Studies (MAPS) is one of the six research centres established by the University of Papua New Guinea under the Centre for Research and Postgraduate Studies in 2002. Its mission is to develop and promote the study of Melanesian and Pacific Islands in the University of Papua New Guinea. The centre promotes research and teaching of Melanesian and Pacific Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the University by facilitating research; teaching and enhancing regional cooperation in education, and outreach programs. It builds on the work of the various programs offered in the University of Papua New Guinea.
MAPS promotes this mission with specific objectives and goals in mind. The objectives are: Developing and promoting Melanesian and Pacific Studies within the University of Papua New Guinea: developing and coordinating courses with relevance to the understanding of Melanesian and Pacific cultures; developing links with government agencies, institutions and universities within Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region, and acting as a focal point for their access to Melanesian and Pacific Studies at UPNG; facilitating contact and communication between scholars in different strands within the School and outside the University through active cooperation with other centres and institutes for Pacific Studies, and undertaking an outreach role in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region, especially on behalf of the University of Papua New Guinea.
MAPS pursues these goals by creating a network of information that is accessible by governments and universities throughout the region; facilitating access to research and educational programs in PNG and within the region; promoting the recognition of distinctive research that contributes to the recognition of Pacific Islands, especially Melanesian cultures; establishing visiting fellowship, for variable periods, for Pacific Island political and public service leaders to share their expertise with interested scholars and reflected experiences; hosting major annual workshops on topical issues and concerns in the contemporary Melanesian and Pacific scenes and facilitating collaborative research projects with regional universities in Humanities and the Social Sciences.
Since its establishment MAPS centre has successfully coordinated weekly MAPS seminars, an international conference and published three new books and two journals. MAPS centre has also established and strengthened its relationship with existing centres of research and Pacific studies in the region, developed inter-institutional relationships with research institutions, research organization, government departments and various non-governmental organizations. As an Executive Member of the International Council of the Study of Pacific Islands (ICSPI) the Director has strengthened MAPS centre’s relationship to other research centre and institutes of Pacific Studies in the South Pacific region.
The MAPS centre has a specialized research and educational focus on Melanesia and the Pacific region. MAPS centre is liaising with governments, funding agencies, and institutions within the region for exchange, accessibility to research and teaching funds, and collaborative research work. The centre is working at promoting and recognizing distinctive research done by Papua New Guineans in the field of Melanesian and Pacific studies.
MAPS centre has developed outreach programs to bring the University of Papua New Guinea to many people in the country, both at urban and local levels. MAPS centre through its activities and programs is consolidating and enhancing the mission of the University of Papua New Guinea in the country and within the region.
Under the umbrella programs MAPS pursues specific projects to achieve its mission, objectives and goals. These includes: Guest speakers, weekly seminars, workshops, publications, visiting scholars/writers in residence, newsletters, academic exchanges, scholarships, research database, consultancy, and applied research and community development.