NZ input at USP getting bigger

The appointment of Jonathan Curr, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, could not have come at a bet­ter time as the relationship between the University of the South Pacific (USP)
16 Mar 2018 11:00
NZ input at USP getting bigger
Jonathan Curr, New Zealand’s High Commissioner (left) and Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP following the visit and discussions at the Laucala Campus.

The appointment of Jonathan Curr, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, could not have come at a bet­ter time as the relationship between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and New Zealand has strengthened even fur­ther.

Speaking during the first visit by Mr Curr to USP on Monday, Vice-Chancellor Profes­sor Rajesh Chandra and President of USP said: “New Zealand has been our partner from the beginning. It is one of the coun­tries that commissioned the initial stages of the study into the formation of this uni­versity,” he said.

A major event has been planned by the university as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations in honour of the contributions of the Fiji and New Zealand governments via the joint unveiling of a commemora­tive monument at the Laucala Campus on March 23 2018, by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji’s Prime Minister, and Ron Mark, the Minister of Defence, New Zealand.

Professor Chandra noted that the New Zea­land Government supported the first years of the operations by leaving valuable build­ings and other assets at Laucala Bay, which was a base for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. These he mentioned, have been uti­lised for many years and some of these are still being used to date.

“New Zealand has been steadfast in sup­porting USP, in helping govern it through the membership of the Council and the University Grants Committee and our re­lationship has been extremely constructive and progressive,” Professor Chandra reaf­firmed.

He said that New Zealand had been instru­mental in the development of the unvesir­ty’s telecommunications through funding the initial USPNet Satellite and was cur­rently supporting the upgrade of USPNet scheduled for completion this year.

“New Zealand has provided support to­wards the core budget of the University, which has enabled USP to position itself well to serve the Pacific region with ICT, research, and regionalism becoming the transformative strategy for the University,” he said.

Professor Chandra highlighted that USP considers New Zealand government’s $NZ5.6 million ($F8.31 million) towards the USPNet upgrade as an excellent contribu­tion to mark USP’s 50th anniversary cel­ebration.

Professor Chandra warmly welcomed Mr Curr, congratulated him on his new appointment as high commissioner and wished him well.

Professor Chandra said that USP had ex­cellent relations with Mr Curr’s predeces­sor, Mark Ramsden, during his term in Suva, and described the latter as a “proac­tive and effective ambassador for USP”.

He affirmed that USP has excellent rela­tions with officials from the New Zealand High Commission in Suva and in Welling­ton.

“I also wish to congratulate the New Zea­land Government and look forward to work­ing closely with you and your team and the officials in Wellington,” he said.

Mr Curr was also informed that USP has officially engaged with New Zealand’s Min­istry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through the bilateral High Level Consulta­tions (HLC) in Wellington every year and later in the year through the tripartite HLC, including Australia.

He said there was an upcoming High Level Consultation in Wellington scheduled for April 16, 2018 and USP looked forward to more fruitful discussions at this bilateral meeting.

Source: USP

Edited by Percy Kean

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