French Presence in Oceania, 1945–2013November 20, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, EWC Burns Hall room 3015/19
PACIFIC CONNECTIONS via video-conference with University of French Polynesia
“French Presence in Oceania, 1945–2013,” Jean-Marc Regnault, University of French Polynesia
This seminar will be in French, with translation provided by Louis Bousquet, UHM French Program
Dr Regnault will trace the ways that France has imposed itself in Oceania, describing how it has alternated in the period 1945–2013 between a forceful presence (primarily under De Gaulle) and one driven by wavering policies. He will also address doubts about France’s continued presence in the region.
In the 1980s, the image of the French Republic was marred when the tragic story of the Rainbow Warrior was disclosed and France refused to sign the Treaty of Rarotonga that established a nuclear-free zone. Relationships with Pacific countries began to improve with the end of nuclear tests in French Polynesia in 1996, and with the signing of the Matignon-Oudinot Accord of 1988 and the Noumea Accord of 1998, which improved France’s image in terms of its policies in New Caledonia. When the worsening political and economic situation of Island states and territories stirred tensions, which Australia and New Zealand tried to but could not fix, the French presence was welcomed as helping to provide stability, security, and financial assistance. Yet domestic crises in French Polynesia and New Caledonia, France’s financial woes, and its policy makers’ misperceptions about the region have served to offset its improved image in the region. Regnault will assess the rationale as well as the opportunities afforded by France’s recent approaches to overseas territories and regional powers, paying special attention to the change of government in Paris in 2012, which has helped revive interest in the Pacific.
Dr Jean-Marc Regnault is a member of University of French Polynesia’s Gouvernance et développement insulaire and an independent researcher.
Governance and Self-determination in the Age of Globalization – cosponsored by the Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center
Free and open to the public
Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Mānoa Campus
956-2658, Enter Title Here (PDF)