President of Kiribati, His Excellency Mr Anote Tong delivering the opening address at the 80th Council Meeting in Tarawa, Kiribati.
“Education is every government’s top priority, more so if you have a young and growing population, as in the case of Kiribati.”
These were the sentiments expressed by the President of Kiribati, His Excellency Mr Anote Tong at the opening of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 80th Council Meeting at Tarawa Kiribati on 2 June 2015.
HE Mr Tong said that education was everyone’s business, which requires collaboration at all levels starting from homes and extending to the national and regional level.
“I am sure I speak for everyone here, in extending my heartfelt gratitude to our development partners and stakeholders in Education, the USP and its member countries and the CROP agencies, who are present here today,” he said.
“Without your generous support we will not be able to fulfil our roles and responsibilities for our children, our resource and our future leaders.”
HE Mr Tong stressed his government’s role as USP’s member country by stating that, “our role as member nations of this prestigious institution is to support and facilitate its growth towards excellence, increased competitiveness among its fellow institutions in the region and globally.”
Kiribati hosted USP’s Council meeting after more than two decades, with the last Council meeting held in 1991.
“I am sure you will all agree with me that the passage of time from 1991 till today has seen improvements in USP and equally important USP’s endeavours for increase excellence in the delivery of its services,” he told members present at Kiribati’s House of Parliament.
HE Mr Tong extended his special gratitude to USP’s 21st Chancellor, HE Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli and Lady Koling Italeli and the Secretary General of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor who was also in Kiribati during that time to advocate Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
“It is indeed a tribute to the strength of regionalism in the pacific, when heads of both our regional bodies are on the same shores at the exact same time,” HE Tong said.
While also acknowledging the Chancellor’s presence, USP Acting Pro-Chancellor, Ms Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu stated that the Chancellor’s one year term in office will end at the end of this month.
“On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank the Chancellor and the government of Tuvalu for their full support and cooperation over the past year, which has enabled our Chancellor to attend all of the graduation ceremonies since he took up office,” she said.
“We are aware that this has taken you away from your other duties at a national level, to fulfil your regional role and for small island countries such as Tuvalu, this has been a major commitment – which is duly acknowledged,” she added.
Ms Utoikamanu also acknowledged the former Pro-Chancellor, Mr Ikbal Jannif’s contribution to the University and the Council.
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