NATION

Konrote Lauds Partnership With USP

The President of Fiji yesterday hailed the partnership fos­tered between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Fijian governments over the past 50 years. Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konusi
06 Feb 2018 11:00
Konrote Lauds Partnership With USP
From left: Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council Winston Thompson, Australian High Commissioner John Feakes, Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konusi Konrote and University of the South Pacific Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra with note left in the Time Capsule. Photo: University of the South Pacific

The President of Fiji yesterday hailed the partnership fos­tered between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Fijian governments over the past 50 years.

Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konusi Konrote, who is also USP Chancellor, was chief guest during the official launch of the univer­sity’s 50th Anniversary at its Lau­cala Campus yesterday (February 5, 2018.)

Mr Konrote said USP has been a steadfast partner to the Fijian Gov­ernment in widening the reach of the Fijian education system and, fielding a more competitive and tal­ented Fijian workforce.

“When the Fijian Government first considered the possibility of establishing a regional university based in Fiji in the mid-1960s, I am sure no-one realised that it would grow to become the centre for learning excellence that it is today,” Mr Konrote said.

According to Mr Konrote, the Fi­jian government’s Auditor-General provided oversight of USP’s financ­es which greatly alleviated the need for the University to engage costly external services, in the early years of the University.

The Government of Fiji, he noted also appreciated the need for the university to be autonomous and it therefore granted visas and work permits to allow overseas academ­ics to assist with the growth of USP.

“These initiatives, which were over and above the usual levels of commitment seen in other similar nations, showed the willingness of the Fijian Government to assist the growth of the University and con­tributed greatly to the rapid expan­sion of USP,” he said.

The President stated that USP was in a sense, one of the earliest ex­periments in regional co-operation and its founders wanted education to be accessible to all parts of the Pacific Islands.

In each of the member nations, USP’s footprint has contributed to a significant widening of access to higher education and through it, aspirational opportunities for de­velopment that had never existed before,

Mr Konrote mentioned that the university has prospered through an understanding that all the cul­tures of our member nations need­ed to be recognised and nurtured, and that countries gained greater benefits from collaboration and partnerships that overcame their isolation.

This he said, provided the initial basis for these countries to come to­gether – building on unity from our diversity.

“The University’s thoughtful at­tention to the needs of all member countries ensures that all member countries have remained staunch supporters of the university. This strong sense of ownership, unwa­vering financial support, and the university’s growing reputation and success in its regional work has led USP, being widely recognised as the best example of regional co-op­eration,” Mr Konrote said.

“USP has trained the majority of Pacific leaders and its alumni are today heads of state, senior govern­ment officials and leaders of indus­try throughout the Pacific and be­yond,” the president said.

“These leaders, many of whom lived and studied together during their time at USP, were exposed to an environment of understanding and networks based on friendship.”

Following the Launch, Mr Konrote John Feakes, the Australian High Commissioner and Professor Chan­dra, USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President opened a time capsule interred by the Australian Govern­ment on 20 August 1997.

The time capsule was sealed by the then Australian Foreign Minis­ter, Alexander Downer and the then acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chandra to mark the commence­ment of construction of the then Australia-Pacific lecture theatre.

The capsule included USP publi­cations, a video cassette from 1997, and was accompanied by a note, which was read by Professor Chan­dra during the opening of the time capsule.

Present at the launch were Jean Pierre Nirua, Vanuatu Minister for Education and Training, Loau Keneti Sio, Samoan Minister for Education, Winston Thompson Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, members of the univer­sity council, senate, executive com­mittee and finance and investment committee, excellencies and mem­bers of the diplomatic corps; heads and representatives of regional and international organisations; senior Fijian government officials; mem­bers of the USP senior manage­ment team, and staff and students of the university.

Source: University of the South Pacific

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