Croatian Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Damir Kusen with Dr Giulio Paunga, Vice-President, Regional Campuses and Properties and Facilities.
Croatian Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Damir Kusen, paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific (USP) at the Laucala Campus in Suva on 7 March, 2016.
HE Dr Kusen was met by Dr Giulio Paunga, Vice-President Regional Campuses and Properties and Facilities, who warmly welcomed him to the campus.
HE Dr Kusen, who is based in Canberra, Australia, said he was pleased to visit USP and expressed interest in the work of the University in the region, both in terms of providing education and a member of the CROP.
He explained the possibility of collaboration with universities in Croatia and welcomed any engagement with USP in whatever area it may want to pursue.
The Ambassador said the main University is in Croatia’s capital of Zagreb with a student enrolment of approximately 50,000.
He said most of the priorities of universities along the Adriatic Coast is sea-oriented including subject areas like marine biology and climate change.
However in the continental part, the focus is on Technical Engineering while in the eastern part of the country there is a strong focus on agriculture.
“So we do have quite a spectrum of fields but the only setback though is that in Croatia majority of PhDs or MAs are in English while the rest are in the local language,” he noted.
He however is adamant that, “Education is the only real platform for development and prosperity for any society”.
Dr Paunga said the USP is keen to develop new partnerships and it is open to any possibility of collaboration with universities in Croatia and embark on engagements like student exchange programmes.
He stated that USP is unique in that it is one of only two regional universities in the world and is owned by 12 member countries. He informed HE Dr Kusen that USP is not only the premier provider of tertiary education but also an integral member of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).
“We offer programmes that are of the highest quality, designed to be more responsive to the needs of our member countries and we are working towards the accreditation of more of our programmes,” he noted. So far a total of 18 programmes of the University have been accredited.
According to Dr Paunga, a majority of graduates from the University are leaders in Government and the private sector in their respective countries.
The Ambassador was also updated on the developments in the Regional Campus including that of the Solomon Islands, which will focus mainly on public health.
Dr Paunga also made mention of USP preparing towards celebrating its 50th anniversary of existence in 2018.
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