(From L-R): Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Ms Nisha, Director, and Mr Rajendra Prasad, IOC National Programme Officer at UNESCO’s Office for the Pacific States in Samoa.
The Director of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Office for the Pacific States, Ms Nisha paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 20 February 2017 to discuss the future of Pacific Heritage Hub at USP.
The Pacific Heritage Hub is a UNESCO World Heritage Facility by and for Pacific States Parties, hosted by USP at its Laucala Campus. It is a communications and information facility for all things ‘Heritage’ in the Pacific and coordinates information and opportunities between regions, countries, institutions, organisations and experts to improve the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and Safeguard Pacific Cultural and natural heritage including intangible cultural heritage.
The Hub serves twenty-three (23) Pacific Island Countries and territories. It emphasises on communications, knowledge management and capacity building, and sustainable funding through strategies and partnership both within and outside Pacific region.
The current arrangements of the Hub at USP are coming to an end in March this year. The University would like to continue with the Hub, but is looking for partnerships to keep it going.
Ms Nisha highlighted that it is necessary to use the Hub in a manner that it becomes self-sustained and not be dependent on grants.
“If you are willing to continue with the hub, we have to plan something that will keep it alive or probably also think of some activities that could be done from the hub that could be revenue generating,” Ms Nisha told the delegates from USP.
Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), informed Ms Nisha that as part of the activities of the Hub, FALE had organised several workshops over the years in the region to bring together Pacific representatives to a common platform.
FALE ran a workshop in Fiji and one in Samoa in 2016, which gained a lot of positive feedback.
Dr Kedrayate suggested that one way to sustain the hub is to integrate it with research.
USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra talked about the University’s Research Groups, called the Strategic Research Themes (SRTs). These SRTs include:
· Economic Growth, Regional Cooperation & Integration for Sustainable Pacific Economies;
· Environment, Sustainable Development & Climate Change;
· Government, Public Policy & Social Cohesion;
· Human Capacity Building & Leadership;
· ICT & Knowledge Economy;
· Pacific Cultures & Societies; and
· Pacific Ocean & Natural Resources.
Referring to the theme on ‘Pacific Ocean and Natural Resources’, Ms Nisha said that this can be co-related with Climate Change.
She informed that within UNESCO, there is a sector dedicated to natural sciences spectrum and added that this could be a possible area to look into, for collaboration in future.
“There is a demand for predictive analysis, of not only weather but of ocean and there is also an increasing interest in marine ecosystems of the Pacific among several other countries and I think for Pacific Islands to then develop their own robust system worth of information and analysis and its use is definitely something that is needed,” Ms Nisha said.
Other discussions included gender equality, training and protection of journalists, and Pacific Culture as one of the SRTs.
Ms Nisha is based at UNESCO’s Samoa office in Apia.
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