NATION

Vice-Chancellor thanks member governments, development partners

The Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra has thanked its member governments and de­velopment partners, in particular Australia and New Zealand. Professor Chandra said Australia and New Zealand
06 Feb 2018 11:00
Vice-Chancellor thanks member governments, development partners
Professor Rajesh Chandra

The Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra has thanked its member governments and de­velopment partners, in particular Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Chandra said Australia and New Zealand had been one of the university’s core development partners since its inception in 1968 and both countries have contribut­ed significantly to its progress.

Without their support, the univer­sity could not have come this far, and achieved so much, Professor Chandra said.

“The government of Fiji as well as other member governments togeth­er with Australia and New Zealand stood by the university throughout the last half century, providing funding, assisting with land and infrastructure, and supporting our management practices,’’ Professor Chandra said.

“This has enabled the University to increase its footprint in all our member countries, educate over 50,000 graduates, promote regional co-operation and integration and achieve excellence.”

Professor Chandra noted that the Australian Government is a long-term partner of USP and has funded several programmes and projects, including the Laucala Campus li­brary in 1988; the Australia-Pacific Lecture Theatre (formerly known as the AusAID lecture theatre) in 1998; and in 2007 projects on climate change adaptation through the Pa­cific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.

The New Zealand government sup­ported USP from the early years of its operations by leaving valuable buildings and other assets at Lau­cala Bay and continues to provide core budget and project support to this day, he said.

“New Zealand has also been in­strumental in the development of USPNet through co-funding the initial USPNet Satellite and is cur­rently supporting the upgrade of USPNet scheduled for completion this year and has also supported many projects in the past 5 dec­ades,” Professor Chandra said.

University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 50th Anniversary was offi­cially launched by His Excellency Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote, Chancellor of USP and President of the Republic of Fiji at the Laucala Campus on 5 February 2018.

During the launch Professor Chandra extended a special wel­come to H.E Konrote saying that his presence made the event more meaningful as Fiji has been at the forefront of the development of the University.

USP he said has also been long supported by other nations, who are not members, that acknowledge the positive contributions made by the University for the development of the Pacific region and are there­fore willing to partner with the Uni­versity.

Professor Chandra mentioned that the two development partners have since 2010 provided support to the implementation of prior­ity areas of USP’s Strategic Plans (2010-2012 & 2013-2018) through multi-year partnership arrange­ments and USP is grateful to them for their continued assistance and partnership.

As part of the launch, the 1997 Time Capsule of USP was also opened by H.E President Konrote and H.E Mr John Feakes, Austral­ian High Commissioner to Fiji. The Time Capsule was buried in 1997 by the then Australian Foreign Minis­ter, Honourable Alexander Downer and the then Acting Vice-Chancel­lor, Professor Rajesh Chandra to mark the commencement of con­struction of the Australia-Pacific Lecture Theatre.

Congratulatory Messages

Julie Bishop, Australia’s Foreign Minister, in a video recording, sent a congratulatory message to the University on the launch of its 50th anniversary.

“I congratulate USP, staff and graduates, past and present, and the owners – the 12 member coun­tries on the outstanding example of regional cooperation,” she noted.

Ms Bishop confirmed that Aus­tralia has been there from the be­ginning and they supported the University and value their partner­ship with USP.

“One way in which we could en­gage more closely is through the Australian Government’s new Co­lombo Plan where we support Aus­tralian undergraduates to live and study overseas and I hope to see more Australian undergraduates studying at USP,” she stated.

“This University enables and in­spires Pacific islanders to reach their full potential and it has made a vital contribution to the econom­ic and social development of this most dynamic region I trust that today’s events mark the beginning of a wonderful time of celebrations to recognise the contribution that USP has made to our region,” she said.

In a letter to Professor Chandra, Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary Gen­eral of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat offered USP her warm­est congratulations on achieving its 50th Anniversary.

She stated that since its establish­ment in 1968, USP has remained one of the region’s greatest exam­ples of regionalism and the benefits that ensue from pooling our collec­tive resources for the betterment of our Pacific people.

“This institution is a symbol of our region’s determination to build our capacity and chart our own de­velopment course, as individuals, nations and as one Pacific region,” Ms Taylor said.

“May I also take this opportunity to recognise and commend the past and present staff and management of the USP for your able leadership in guiding this institution to this milestone achievement,” she noted.

“I look forward to celebrating, to­gether with our colleagues on the Council of Regional Organisation in the Pacific (CROP), this mile­stone achievement over the course of this year,” Ms Taylor added.

Professor Chandra said the 50th Anniversary seeks to recognise individuals together with the part­ners who have supported USP along what has been a wonderful journey of development for the Pacific re­gion.

“2018 provides an opportunity for us to use the learnings and rela­tionships established over the past 50 years, to achieve even greater outcomes in the future,” he added.

USP will be releasing its strategic plan for the next six year cycle to­wards the end of the 50th Anniver­sary year.

The official launch of the 50th An­niversary for USP was streamed live to all the USP member coun­tries through the USP website.

Source: University of the South Pacific

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