Announcing the Inaugural Pacific Security Scholars

July 23, 2013

The Pacific Islands Society (PacSoc), Emerging Science and Technology Centre (ESTPC), and Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies (CANZPS) at Georgetown University are pleased to announce the selection of the 2013/14 Pacific Security Scholars. The inaugural group will be composed of Rick Cantero, Briar Thompson, George Bogden, and Patrick Maloney.

Over the next nine months, each scholar will be tasked to tackle the policy implications of four emerging security issues in the Pacific Islands region. They will do so under the guidance of senior mentors who are experts on traditional and non-traditional security issues. Their insights and analysis will then be published in tandem by PacSoc and CANZPS; placing the participants alongside some of the world’s most influential thought-leaders on Pacific affairs. At the completion of these writing assignments, the full collection of articles will be collectively bound, printed, and presented to the diplomatic missions of the Pacific Islands Forum member states and dialogue partners.

More on each of the young leaders:

Ricky Cantero is currently the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), where he heads the Division of Americas and Europe Affairs. He is responsible for developing policy recommendations on issues pertaining to the FSM’s relationship with countries throughout both regions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Guam.

Briar Thompson is a Rhodes Scholar from New Zealand pursuing graduate study at Somerville College, University of Oxford. She has completed an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, in which her thesis focused on how the protection needs of those vulnerable to displacement linked to environmental stress might be provided, with particular reference to Pacific small island states. Starting this fall, Briar will be reading for the Master of Public Policy at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, where she intends to continue relating her studies to the Pacific region.

George Bogden is pursuing a master’s of philosophy in International Relations at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar. He was born and raised in Hawaii, and completed his undergraduate work at Yale, serving as the university's Fox International Fellow in Istanbul the year after receiving his bachelor’s degree. He has completed internships in the U.S. Congress, the Department of State, and in research institutions in Washington D.C., Ankara, and Istanbul.

Patrick Maloney is currently an International Development doctoral candidate with the University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. His research focus has been on the cultural and political impediments to economic development in Micronesia, where he spent his formative years. Presently, he works as the Public Diplomacy Assistant at the U.S. Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia.

About the 2013/14 Pacific Security Scholars Program: The 2013/14 Pacific Security Scholars Program is an extension of the ESTPC Security Scholars program. Designed specifically for scholars from the Pacific Islands region, this program is being run in partnership with the Pacific Islands Society and the Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies. Miles McKenna, Director of Programming at PacSoc, is managing the Pacific Security Scholars program on behalf of these partners. He can be reached at staff@pacificislandssociety.org.

About the Pacific Islands Society (PacSoc): The Pacific Islands Society is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting stronger people-people relations between the Pacific Island Countries and beyond. Through its speaking series, cultural events, and annual campaigns, PacSoc brings together some of the region’s most influential minds to discuss major political, economic, environmental, and social issues facing the Pacific Islands– all while celebrating the vibrant cultures that make the region so unique and valuable to the global community.