From L-R: Mr Jaindra Karan, Director, Development, Marketing, Communications and Alumni; Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of ANU; Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP and Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and International.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Professor Rajesh Chandra paid a courtesy visit to Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University (ANU) on 12 April 2017.
Professor Chandra thanked Professor Schmidt for his support towards the exciting collaboration between USP and ANU. He commended ANU’s continued efforts and engagement in the Asia and the Pacific and reiterated the need to continue collaboration with USP to support the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Professor Chandra said that Pacific Leaders are consciously thinking of the future for the Pacific region and how effectively Pacific solutions can be identified for the challenges faced.
“The University is working towards supporting this effort by the leaders through provision of quality education, research and regional integration efforts,” Professor Chandra said.
USP, he added, is seen as a credible institution with strong partnerships to respond to the challenges faced by the region and it is actively making efforts to support the region with challenges such as climate change, accessing climate finance, marine resources, fisheries, ICT, energy, and security.
Professor Schmidt highlighted that it is important to reassert and reimagine the role of the ANU as a national university in Australia.
ANU, Professor Schmidt said, is striving to plan its priorities for the next five to seven years and assessing collaborations with institutions in the Pacific, such as USP.
“USP is ANU’s greatest partner pertaining to its work in the Pacific and ANU is committed to building on this important relationship,” Professor Schmidt said.
Discussions during the meeting included the role of USP beyond Fiji. Professor Chandra highlighted that USP is a regional University, which is central to the regional architecture and works very closely with all its member countries and beyond.
It is primarily responsible for training the leaders of the Pacific and plays a crucial lead role in Human Resources Development (HRD) and Information Communications Technology (ICT), which it is mandated to lead by the Pacific Leaders as part of the CROP mechanism.
Professor Chandra further noted that USP also plays a vital role in regional economic integration and creation of logical pathways across the Pacific.
On current collaborations, the success of the annual Pacific Update was discussed. USP hosted two (2) Pacific Updates previously with support from ANU and ADB and will be hosting the third Pacific Update in partnership with both institutions in July this year.
Professor Chandra also updated on the establishment of the Centre for Economic Policy and Modelling (CEPM) at the University and the potential role it can play in the provision of services at policy levels in the area of economics.
Professor Schmidt mentioned that ANU is in the process of mapping out its capabilities and limitations and is focusing on big scale priorities and initiatives such as renewable energy, geology and governance.
It was agreed that USP will work on a matrix which entail key technical areas of priority which it can collaborate with ANU on big scale initiatives that have high impact for the Pacific region.
This meeting was followed by a general discussion between USP Delegation and the Scholars and Officials of ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific.
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