News@PIFS: Pacific Law interns dip into regional priorities

Forumsec, November 29th, 2022--Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna and Deputy Dr Filimon Manoni have farewelled four Pacific law graduates completing their Forum internships in the coming days. The interns served undertook a brief professional placement with the PIFS International Legal Team, topping of their USP studies.
Three of the four interns are from Fiji. They are Ms Herleen Kumar, Mr Mosese Volavola and Mr Alifereti Takalaivuna. Ms Melissa Thompson of Vanuatu joined them. All are part of the 2022cohort of the USP Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) programme.
The internships have helped prepare the graduates for legal practice, as they examined a range of international legal issues including treaty law issues, law of the sea and ocean governance, nuclear, climate change and sea-level rise, trade, and security. They also observed and supported a number of regional meetings and engagements in Suva.
Herleen Kumar says she is grateful for the opportunity to experience Forum legal work at a regional and international level, across ocean, marine, biodiversity, and nuclear issues. “I learned about Japan’s intention to discharge treated water stored in tanks at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, into the ocean. Our Pacific Ocean home is at stake. This was a revelation to me that there are so many ways I can help contribute back to my Island home as a young graduate.”
Her fellow interns agree. “The work of the PIF is of vital importance especially around key issues such as nuclear issues and climate change related sea-level rise on maritime boundaries,” shared Melissa Thompson, “these are issues that have inspired me to continue my education and contribute at the national, regional, and international level.”
Fiji based Mosese Volavola says he is “fortunate to gain this opportunity to contribute and work on legal policy issues that our Forum Leaders are currently engaged in at the regional and global level.”
For Alifereti Takalaivuna, the internship will help him “appreciate the importance of the work done at the regional level by the secretariat. I also want to see more of the processes that make up the regional mandates from Forum Leaders as they decide on the best way forward for our Pacific region, and our people.”
The interns said they were particularly inspired by the leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna and Deputy Filimon Manoni, both legal professionals whose careers have taken pathways to the heights of political office and regional development.
During this week’s encounter, Secretary General Puna shared his experience as a young law graduate and encouraged the interns to build careers in international law, in pursuit of strengthening Pacific capacities to tackle the range of threats and existential challenges facing the Blue Pacific and the global community. –-ENDS