Home Awardee Profiles Kim Andreas Kessler, University of Otago

Kim Andreas Kessler, University of Otago

Kim’s research topic: Exploring the nature of development in remote Pacific outer islands: Challenges and opportunities in times of climate change

“While development and resilience research has proliferated in the Pacific Islands region, remote outer island populations have been rarely in the spotlight. To address this gap, my PhD research focuses on hyper-peripheral island populations and explores how internal and external actors shape remote island development and resilience practices in times of climate change.

In today’s neoliberal university environment, it has become increasingly difficult to find the time and the finance to carry out field research on remote outer islands. The New Zealand Aid Programme Award for Postgraduate Field Research, together with the Ron Lister Chair in Geography fund (University of Otago) and my personal funds, allowed for the first independent people-centred research to be carried out on the island of Ono-i-Lau in Fiji—one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands.

I am grateful to my supervisors, the University of Otago, MFAT, and DevNet, for their continued believe in my research topic and in first-hand field research, despite uncertainties and disruptions caused by the global pandemic. Though it needed some convincing here and there, this field research could not have been realised without their support.

During my field research in Fiji, I have published (preliminary) research findings on improving the quality of life on remote outer islands: actor-centred insights, the experiences and views of remote outer island populations on aid, Fiji’s COVID-19 crisis, and the need to consider ‘multidimensional poverty’ and ‘inequality’ in Fiji and the wider Pacific. I hope these findings can help to recalibrate development partnerships and improve the quality of life in (remote) Pacific Islands.

Kim Andreas Kessler, PhD Researcher, University of Otago”

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