The Pacific Connect Forum is the flagship event on the ICDP calendar, held in Sydney in September each year. It brings together a network of current and emerging leaders from Australia and the Pacific to focus on ‘digital connectivity as an enabler of opportunity’ in the region.
The Forum builds on and accelerates the projects and relationships that arise from Pacific Connect Workshops and Dialogues attended by Australian and Pacific Islaners held over the past year. The event is a great platform that further strengthens and expands the Pacific Connect Community network.
Held under the theme of ‘Australia-Pacific Connections for a Digital Future’, the Forum is attended by senior and influential delegates from government, business, academia and civil society in the Pacific and Australia. The 2018 Pacific Connect Forum was honoured to host the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon. Afamasaga Lepuia’i Rico Tupa’i, Minister for Communications and Information Technology of the Government of Samoa, and Michelle Rowland MP, Australian Shadow Minister for Communications, as keynote speakers.
Delegates consider the potential of innovative, digital technologies to drive sustainable development, create jobs and improve the lives of Pacific Islanders, while opening new market opportunities for Pacific and Australian businesses. At the 2018 Forum, it was acknowledged that there is a need for better digital literacy in the community and a balanced approach between short-term market opportunities and longer-term projects such as blockchain application. Increased digital and financial literacy, better payment methods and improved access to financial services will ameliorate development within the region, and the introduction of a central repository of Pacific data will better infrom public and private sector decision makers throughout the Pacific.
“No one country can go it alone in digital transformation. We are One Pacific”
ICDP also offers Pacific Connect participants opportunities for professional development, mentoring and networking at extra-curricular activities. For the 2018 Pacific Connect Forum, a range of activities were organised by ICDP and GAP in the lead-up to the event, including visits to Sydney’s most prominent innovation hubs – Stone & Chalk, BlueChilli and the Australian Computer Society Innovation Hub. ICDP also arranged numerous mentoring sessions, follow-up project and Dialogue meetings for relevant participants and tours of academic facilities.
Held on the eve of the Global Access Partners Annual Summit, the Pacific Connect Forum leverages GAP’s broad network and contributes to a wider dialogue that initiates strategic debate on the most pressing social, economic and structural issues facing Australia and the world today. Convened at the iconic NSW Parliament House in Sydney, the event is a highlight for participants and the broader ICDP network.