Current Status of International Programs - International Collaborations
The University of the South Pacific is an institution that stands as the gateway to a range of valuable research resources both in the form of its academic staff and its physical assets. Many world class scholars have dedicated their careers to assisting in regional development through their contributions to USP; many rising academics have similarly come to this University to enhance its programs and their own studies. Pristine reefs, marine habitations, rain forests, sustainable agricultural projects, professional schools, and exceptional regional study opportunities are only a limited list of its disciplinary assets.
Stewardship of these endowments for the benefit of its Pacific Region member citizens is the dedicated task of USP. Through creation of knowledge, dissemination of learning and skills, stimulation of economic opportunities and employment and the advancement of this region’s profile as a significant player in key areas of world studies, USP seeks to discharge this fiduciary duty.
International programs at USP have, over the last four decades, been a valued part of its development and have grown through the energy and vision of many individuals committed to this end. Historically, such programs have, however, by necessity remained peripheral to USP’s core business of regional education. Documentation of these programs has therefore largely rested on individual skills with the result that institutional knowledge of specific agreements is limited.
At present student exchange arrangements with at least 30 universities in various forms have some documented existence. Other arrangements are clearly manifested by the regular arrival of affiliate groups; an even wider range of documents that indicate agreements of some sort have been sought in the past or are, in some instances, still proceeding through approval stages also exists in files in a number of areas around the University; and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and related documents paving the way for student and staff exchange programs also generate inquiries from potential participants. Added to this list are a growing number of inquiries (largely from American Universities) regarding study abroad programs, and graduate and research exchange placement requests (from European institutions).
Given the complexity of this undertaking, however, the need for clear, consistent procedural and cooperative planning strategies are apparent. In particular, USP’s relationships with other international learning bodies in forms ranging from student exchanges to research affiliations presuppose a carefully agreed strategic approach. As one of only three regional Universities in the world, USP already recognizes that collaborative undertakings make for far greater returns than do individual effort; its mission over the next decade therefore is to ensure that this approach is similarly extended to international outreach programs in general.