Rich diversity of the Asia Pacific captured in Chiapas, Mexico at the first ever APRU Indigenous Knowledges meeting
December 5, 2022

APRU hosted the inaugural APRU Indigenous Knowledges Workshop in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, in early-November. The 5-day workshop included indigenous-led knowledge exchange, site visits, and panel discussions led by Tecnológico de Monterrey and the University of Melbourne under the theme Dialog surrounding Indigenous Knowledges within the Pacific Rim: Living Cultures and World Heritage.

More than 25 APRU participants attended from Simon Fraser University, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the University of Auckland, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the University of Melbourne, University of Oregon, and University of the Philippines to share best practice and create new connections to foster the exchange of indigenous knowledges across the Pacific Rim and beyond.

Set on the backdrop of San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, home to 68 Indigenous communities and 12 indigenous languages, the setting served as an important symbol of connectivity among the vast diversity of indigenous knowledges across the Asia Pacific. The workshop explored the interconnections between indigenous scholars, research, and mobility across the region.

“This workshop is an example of APRU at its best, demonstrating how the Pacific Ocean is something that unites us rather than sets us apart,” said Professor Adrian Little, Pro Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne and leader of the APRU Indigenous Knowledges program. He added that “the foundation is now set to enable us to pursue these collaborations productively in the future.”

“For Tec de Monterrey, it’s very important to work with the knowledge from our Indigenous peoples,” said Inés Sáenz, Vice President of Inclusion, Social Impact, and Sustainability at Tecnológico de Monterrey. “This event allows us to explore social innovation case studies among leading institutions of the Pacific Rim. We are also building on that knowledge base by sharing our experiences in preserving language, education, cultural diversity, and identity among our indigenous communities and within our institutions,” she added.

Following welcome messages at the Tecnológico de Monterrey Center for Social Innovation (CIIS), participants gathered to appreciate a welcome indigenous ceremony and a display of fabric manufacturing processes by Indigenous artisans. The subsequent five sessions served as platforms for project presentations by the participating APRU universities.

The 1st APRU Indigenous Knowledges Workshop involved field trips along the Kuxlejal cultural route and a boat trip in the Sumidero Canyon. APRU participants expressed that the event was an incredible opportunity to come together for the first time, sharing the Pacific Rim Universities’ experience of Indigenous knowledges.

“We could see that even though we belong to different distant territories, we can come together to benefit our indigenous communities in the region,” said Adriana Rojas, APRU Senior Director, Network and Student Programs.

“We were there to share our experiences and identify joint strengths to co-create a future together,” she added.

Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne, pointed out that Indigenous internationalisation requires such partnership opportunities that facilitate knowledge exchange, understanding and collaboration between Indigenous Australians and First Nations peoples internationally.

“We’ve been joined in Mexico by many experts, including our own Indigenous colleagues, who are shaping a focus on sharing best practice and the strength of what is ‘uniquely Australian’ within the Pacific Rim,” Wesley said.

Video Recap

Participant List

Adriana Rojas Martinez, APRU
Eldon Yellowhorn, Simon Fraser University
Rennie Atfield-Douglas, The University of Auckland
Te Kawehau Hoskins, The University of Auckland
Linda Waimarie Nikora, The University of Auckland
Michael Steedman, The University of Auckland
Jemaima Tiatia, The University of Auckland
David Romo, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Noelani Puniwai, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Brittany Carter, University of Melbourne
Kirsten Clark, University of Melbourne
Inala Cooper, University of Melbourne
Aaron Corn, University of Melbourne
Cameo Dalley, University of Melbourne
Margot Eden, University of Melbourne
Adrian Little, University of Melbourne
Michael Wesley, University of Melbourne
Brian Klopotek, University of Oregon
Raymundo Dagsil Rovillos, University of the Philippines

Tecnologico de Monterrey representatives from CIIS, CRDH, EHE, communications, international relations.

Laura Arevalo, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Felisa Gonzalez, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Jose Paez, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Julio Rubio, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Judith Ruiz, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Ines Saenz, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Perla Salinas, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Martha Velazquez, Tecnologico de Monterrey

For more information about the event, please visit the event webpage here.

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