Hari Simon

Hari Simon

Scholarship recipients continue Professor Darrell Tryon's legacy

8th December 2017

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The Professor Darrell Tryon Research Scholarship was established in 2013 to commemorate an eminent scholar of ANU who dedicated his career to the languages and people of the Pacific, especially in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the Loyalty Islands.

The scholarship enables one PhD student from ANU and one from the University of New Caledonia (UNC) to spend three months at the other university to undertake research towards their doctoral degree. This year’s scholarship winners are Nick Hoare and Hari Simon.

Nick is a PhD candidate in the School of History at ANU, working on the history of phosphate mining on a French Polynesian Island called Makatea. He has had his eye on the scholarship for a while—in fact, its existence was a key reason why he decided to undertake his PhD at ANU.

‘Though I sadly never had the chance to meet him, Tryon’s vision to bring together the Anglophone and Francophone spheres of the Pacific is an inspiring one and is something that drives a lot of my research,’ Nick says.

Hari is a PhD candidate at UNC, working on the intersections between Francophone and Anglophone Pacific literatures. His time at ANU will enable him to gather much of the evidence for the Anglophone portion of this thesis from the National Library of Australia and the Menzies Library at ANU.

Hari first heard about the scholarship from one of his colleagues, who was a past recipient. He also has ties to ANU as one of his supervisors is Associate Professor Chris Ballard from the School of Culture, History and Language. Hari will also work with Professor Margaret Jolly during his stay in Canberra.

Both scholars are deeply interested in the history and impact of European colonialism in the Pacific.

Nick’s research focuses on the environmental destruction caused by phosphate mining on Makatea, a legacy of European colonialism that has yet to be properly recognised and addressed. An Australian firm is currently in the process of securing the rights to re-mine the island, and Nick hopes that his history will help those involved in the negotiations avoid the mistakes that were made over a century ago.

Hari’s interest in the history of Pacific colonisation stems from his personal experience. He grew up in Vanuatu, which became an independent state in 1980, but now lives in the French Overseas Territory of New Caledonia. He says that the differences between the two got him thinking about the complex legacies of colonialism in the Pacific, and he decided to examine these through the study of Pacific literature.

The scholarship has had significant benefits for both recipients. Nick has made substantial progress on his writing since arriving in Noumea six weeks ago, and he is also developing his French language skills by participating in an intensive summer school during his time at UNC.

Hari appreciates the opportunity to focus on his PhD while in Canberra: ‘Because I’m working full time as well, the PhD hasn’t been easy, so being here gives me three months devoted to my research.’

More information about the Professor Darrell Tryon Research Scholarship is available on the ANU Global Programs System.

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