National medal for UC researcher striving for a more equitable world
16 November 2020
A University of Canterbury (UC) Professor has won recognition from the Royal Society Te Apārangi for his passion for equality and outstanding research into ethnicity and racism.
Steven Ratuva, Director of UC’s Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, is the recipient of the Society’s 2020 Metge Medal for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community.
Professor Ratuva, who was born in Fiji, says his work is inspired by a desire to create an equal, sustainable and humanity-based world.
The political sociologist believes the interdisciplinary nature of his research and his ability to juggle multiple projects at once – in New Zealand, the Pacific and internationally - help him stand out. “My research spans the topics of security, ethnicity, equity, wellbeing, geopolitics and conflict.
“It encompasses development studies, politics and a whole range of social science areas. I’m very focused on building relationships, both within New Zealand and internationally.”
He was a recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 2017 and the co-winner of the 2019 UC Research Medal.
Recently, he led the world’s largest-ever research project on ethnicity – The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity - which involved a global team of about 150 scholars and is more than 2000 pages long.
As Chair of the International Political Science Association’s research committee on security, conflict and democratisation, Professor Ratuva co-ordinates research and publications for more than 400 international scholars.
He is also leading a project on social protection and health topics, including Covid-19, for UC and Otago University, a project on food security and wellbeing for UC, and an international project on Covid-19 and global security.
He has written and edited publications on development, conflict, political change, coups, security and nationalism.
“I published three books last year and I hope to publish two more this year and one next year. Writing has always been a passion of mine,” says Professor Ratuva, who is the author of several books including Contested Terrain: Reconceptualising Security in the Pacific (2019) and Politics of preferential development: Trans-global study of ethnic conflict and affirmative action in Fiji, Malaysia and South Africa (2013).
UC Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Millar, who nominated Professor Ratuva, describes him as a transformative, interdisciplinary researcher who seeks to understand and ameliorate conflict and deprivation.
“I have rarely encountered an academic with such a facility for collaboration and networking, and such commitment to attempting to understand and positively impact on societies in some of the most stressed parts of the world.”
The Metge Medal was presented to Professor Ratuva at a 2020 Research Honours Aotearoa cocktail event in Christchurch on Thursday night.
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