Brief Overview

The first ever SPICOL took place in 1996, USP students from 13 countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu participated in the very first SPICOL conference. There were usually two students from each country who were willing to attend the conference during October 14-18, 1996 in the evenings. Their roles were as "Prime Minister" (or President) and as "Minister of Trade". Fiji was designated as the "host country" and the Fiji Prime Minister (Meli Tora) served as host. Selina Kuruleca was conference chair.

The opening night ceremonies were on Monday, Oct. 14. USP's Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Esekia Solofa, was the chief guest and, playing the role of the President of Fiji. During his speech he noted that a priority for the Pacific was "human development" as contrasted with "human resource development" and that he hoped SPICOL would promote the former.

Also on opening night there was a sevusevu by the Fijian students, introductions, photographs, a ceremonial cake-cutting, and entertainment.

The entire conference was broadcast over USP's student radio (thank you Pat Craddock and Maria Lesuma from USP's Media center). The opening night was also covered by Fiji's free television station 'Fiji One' which was shown on the national news.

The USP journalism students also covered the conference, taking time to interview and canvas opinions from the conference delegates and came out with a daily "SPICOL Update" covering events at the conference.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights had research papers presented by students from HP308 (history-politics), SE 201 (sociology), and EC306 (economics). About fifteen papers were solicited for presentations over the two evenings.

Thursday was set aside for deliberations by the conference delegates and to come to some sort of consensus about how the Pacific leaders should deal with the issues raised by the World Trade Organization.

After a lot of hard work during Friday morning and afternoon (special thanks to Afshana Ali and Vivian Koster) a communiqué from the conference was prepared and circulated.

Friday evening, the communiqué was signed by the heads of government, each made a final speech, certificates of achievement to all participants were awarded, and the conference ended with entertainment and celebratory food.

Learning Through Simulations (copyright 2011, Society in Transition)