Haere mai, Welcome Dr Jhon Blesia, Project Postdoctoral Fellow

We are delighted to announce that Dr Jhon Blesia has now joined the “Governance of Deep-Sea Mining (DSM) in the Pacific” research team as postdoctoral fellow. The team members, Associate Professor Pascale Hatcher, Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva, Dr Geoffrey Ford and Dr Isoa Korovulavula (USP) warmly welcome Dr Blesia to the Department of Political Science and International Relations and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies here at the University of Canterbury.

This Marsden-funded research seeks to understand how Pacific Island countries (PICs) and their societies are making decisions around DSM governance. The main objective of the project is to analyse and explain the key actors, alignments, and controversies driving the development of the DSM governance regime in the PICs.

Dr Blesia has a strong background of research focused on community development, social justice, corporate social responsibility, and stakeholder engagement in the mining and extractive industries in West Papua. He has a unique multidisciplinary background at the intersection of accounting, economics, anthropology, ethnography, politics, and history. His PhD thesis investigated Indigenous engagement with community stakeholder partners and the conflicts attached to the Grasberg Mine, corporate colonialism, cultural imperialism, environmental curse, loss of customary rights and related matters. He critically examined the roles of the United States’ subsidiary of an Indonesian mining company in West Papua and how they engage with Indigenous communities through their social investment initiatives as part of their CSR activities.

Given his research expertise in one of the world’s biggest mining sites, Dr Blesia will play a significant part in the DSM research project. Dr Blesia, himself from West Papua, has a deep connection with University of Canterbury, where he did his PhD (in accounting) and we are delighted to welcome him back to New Zealand and to University of Canterbury. Haere mai Jhon!