The Austronesian language family covers the largest geographical area of the world. From the west of Madagascar islands to the east of Easter Island, from the south of New Zealand to the north of Taiwan, there are more than 1,200 languages in the Austronesian language family. These languages share not only similar linguistic characteristics but also similar living environments, social organizations, livelihood models, cognitive system, thoughts and historical development. These commonalities have generated the concept of “Austronesian culture” which serves as the essential basis of international exchanges.
In order to promote the political, social, economic and culture development of Austronesian peoples, and to enhance the collaboration and exchanges among Austronesian peoples, much has been done. To increase the global understanding and respect toward the Austronesian cultures, the Council of Indigenous Peoples has organized the Assembly of Austronesian Leaders since 2002 and the International Austronesian Conference every year since 2003. These conferences invite researchers in the field of Austronesian studies to discuss the regional social development, the inheritance of knowledge, the education and culture, natural ecology and traditional territories, economic development, as well as tourism and cultural industries in this region. We aim at building a dialogue on this platform and operating on a cooperative basis for Austronesian peoples so as to promoting the sustainability of Austronesian culture.
Representatives from home proposed at the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarian’s Union (APPU), calling for APPU member states to cooperate and establish a forum for Austronesian peoples in 2016. The Council of Indigenous Peoples, therefore, reactivated the Austronesian Forum, once suspended for ten years, in 2018. Aside from holding round-table meetings for key political figures from 12 Austronesian countries and regions, the Forum also focuses on the discussion of the following topics, including “Inheriting and Re-creating of Indigenous Cultures”, “Representing Island Perspective History”, “Impartation and Development of Mother Tongues”, “Policies and Mechanisms for the Negotiation and Reconciliation on Land Conflicts” and “Historical Justice and Transitional Justice”. Experts and scholars of various fields are also invited to share their experience in the Forum to increase people’s awareness of these issues facing the Austronesian peoples so as to strengthen the regional links and establish the platform for future agenda and actions.