The year ahead for Pacific Connect

We closed out our third year of implementing Pacific Connect with a simple message: “In many ways, we cannot predict what 2021 will bring, but we can be confident in knowing that we have a vibrant and engaged Community that provides a strong foundation for adapting and expanding the program”. Adapting and expanding certainly rings true as we look forward to what this year will bring!

Our Pacific Connect Community – now numbering more than 580 Australians and Pacific Islanders from all walks of life – is at the forefront of our activities for 2021 as we seek to broaden the opportunities for our members. Empowering leaders is a big focus of the program, and so it is exciting to start the year with a renewed focus on our Community Hubs and the people that lead them.  Community Leaders act as a ‘go-between’, be it organising Dialogues or Workshops on the ground, holding in-country networking and social events, or developing roadmaps for their respective Communities. Our five Hub Coordinators (with two more coming soon!) are well-recognised members of our Community and are there to support and guide you through your Pacific Connect journey. If you haven’t connected with your local Coordinator yet, jump on our Slack channel and say hello – it’s a perfect place to introduce yourself to new members and make connections!

Like everyone, we understand that much of this year may feel a lot like the last, but with renewed optimism and a greater sense of perspective. While our Dialogues and Workshops will still be conducted virtually (and via Hubs) until at least the middle of the year, we hope to bring many of you together for our annual Ideas Exchange (🤞🤞) to share and celebrate Community and program achievements.

We kick off our Network Dialogues with a PNG-focused encore to the ‘Side Hustle’ Dialogue later this month and the team can’t wait to welcome new and established members of our Papua New Guinean community to what will be an insightful and empowering experience, featuring some inspiring presenters and stories.

The rest of our year is full of innovative themes and well-received ‘classics’. We hope to explore accessible tourism, oceans and climate change, music, sport, and health and well-being in our 2021 Dialogue series, widening our Community’s reach and business potential with new projects. Our ‘Women in Business’ Dialogues, ‘learning to code’ and mentoring Workshops, VR/AR educational sessions and the Pacific Tech Academy all return in 2021 to continue our of support professional development opportunities across the region. We hope to add to these with input from the Community to ensure we continue to bolster business and ICT skills of our existing as well as new members.

2020 was a huge year for members’ projects and the program overall (you can check out our achievements here) and we are looking forward to building on last year’s success stories. We (Simone, Tina, Ken and Benjamin) are looking ahead to a year of new projects, business opportunities and welcoming a new cohort of emerging leaders whilst reconnecting with our fellow Community members. It’s going to be another busy and exciting year for Pacific Connect, and we are so proud to be along for the ride with you all.