The Chief-Guest, Ambassador of Japan to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Eiichi Oshima gives his address at the 2012 USP Open Day. Also in picture: the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra (in garland).
The 2012 University of the South Pacific Open Day today attracted over 10,000 high school students and members of the public at the University’s campuses around the country who took the opportunity to find out what USP is all about.
This important annual event took place simultaneously at the Laucala, Lautoka and Labasa campuses as well as in regional campuses located in Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati and Nauru.
At the main USP campus in Laucala, around 70 schools with over 7000 students visited the University’s academic faculties, schools and support facilities to get first hand information on courses, student support services and to experience campus life.
The official opening ceremony was graced with the presence of government representatives including the Honourable Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni, diplomats, heads and representatives of CROP and international agencies, dignitaries, school principals, Open Day sponsors, school students and invited guests.
Speaking to a capacity crowd gathered at the opening ceremony, the Chief-Guest, Ambassador of Japan to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Eiichi Oshima highlighted that USP is a unique academic institution covering the Pacific region as it is jointly owned by governments of 12 member countries and supported by various partners including Japan.
The Ambassador said that USP has an extensive reach in the region and offers a wide range of programmes which provides the University with the perfect environment to deliver quality education with a variety of choice and diversity.
“You may or may not like to start to study a new subject, after years of study in high schools, but university is the place of establishing your intellectual ground, and inter-disciplinary mind or approach, which will be your great asset in life,” he told students.
The Ambassador pointed out to high school students that the diversity of staff and students at USP will give them an incomparable experience in understanding and appreciating the differences among people such as ethnicity, religious and racial backgrounds as well as cultural and traditional and geographical origins.
He stated that USP pursues to serve for the betterment of the Pacific communities and Japan is proud to be a partner of the University in such endeavors.
“USP and Japan have enjoyed excellent relationship and cooperation over the past decades, starting from the very first dispatch of Fisheries experts to USP in 1980’s. Japan is also proud to have been a part of the University’s efforts in laying infrastructural and intellectual framework for Distance and Flexible Learning under the USP ICT Human Development and Human Security Project.”
The Ambassador urged potential students not to limit their interest to what they know but allow themselves to encounter new subjects and fields which is on offer at USP.
“I hope that you, the young students fully utilize today’s opportunity to get to know a variety of pathways that USP has to offer and to discover your potentials,” he added.
In welcoming those present at the opening ceremony, the Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra said that while the Open day is a day of discovery for prospective students, it is also an opportunity to acknowledge the strong backing that the University enjoys from the community at large, including principals, sponsors and parents.
Professor Chandra acknowledged the generous assistance of Japan to USP and added that he is optimistic that this partnership will grow and strengthen even further.
Amongst those present at the Open Day also included the 2010 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Professor Akira Suzuki from Japan. He is known for his discovery of the ‘Suzuki Coupling’ reaction which is important in material science and is used in the preparation of pharmaceuticals.
“Professor Suzuki’s presence here today is inspirational for all of us and I hope that the students will be especially inspired by his exceptional achievements,” added Professor Chandra.
He stressed that potential students should consider studying at the USP as it offers recognized and accredited programmes which are monitored by the same body that audits the quality of Australian universities.
Professor Chandra added the University has excellent professors and teachers, offers cutting edge learning approaches as well as outstanding IT facilities and access to the internet with outstanding and unique cultural opportunities and inculcates the right skills, attitudes and competencies that prepare students for life-long success.
The Vice-Chancellor revealed that from 2013, USP will be embarking on a new phase of development marked by its transformation from being a good to an excellent University.
“This will mean even better learning facilities such as smart classrooms, roll-out of tablets for new students initially on a trial basis, much improved facilities at the regional campuses, greater opportunities for mixing with international students and going abroad for exchanges and greater opportunities for post-graduate studies,” he mentioned.
He encouraged students to enjoy the day and explore USP’s dynamic learning and living environment.
“Please learn as much as you can about USP and talk to our highly regarded teachers and enthusiastic students as your choice of a university is one of the most important decisions of your life,” he advised them.
After the conclusion of the opening ceremony, school students were taken on guided tours of the University. The fun-filled day was wrapped up with entertainment from the USP Student Association’s multi-cultural groups.