Bougainville in Transition


Level of study: Career Based/Vocational

Bougainville held its referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea in November 2019. The option for independence won by an overwhelming majority. With this, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville enter an unprecedented phase in their history. How did this happen? Where does it lead? How does what has happened in Bougainville relate to the broader context of Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and the region? These are challenging and as yet not fully answered questions now faced by Bougainvilleans, Papua New Guineans, and also their neighbours, including Australia. This micro-credential aims to provide its participants with a strong knowledge base from which to understand and participate in the conversations now taking place regarding the future of Bougainville.
In this micro-credential we will examine the origins of Bougainville nationalism and situate it within the context in which it emerged: colonial and post-colonial Papua New Guinea. We will follow the history of the Bougainville conflict, or kraisis, and the decade-long search for peace, and compare the development of these political movements and those elsewhere in PNG. Careful attention will be paid to the political dynamics in the period after the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, to seek to understand how a once radical position became government policy. Finally, we will examine the referendum vote itself and its implications.
Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion, enrollees will have the knowledge and skills to:
Describe the aspects of Bougainville’s political development and current constitutional arrangements
Identify the factors driving secessionism and the consolidation of political movements in Bougainville
Contrast and compare the factors at play in politics in Bougainville with those elsewhere in Papua New Guinea
Achieve understanding of the complexities involved in the relationship between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville
Understand and describe the key political challenges facing Australia, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville as it enters a period of transition.
Present their analysis in a cogent and structured way

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