From L-R: Student George Koran, Mr Emmanuel Blessing, Chargé d’Affairrés of the Vanuatu High Commission, Professor Derrick Armstrong and Professor Jito Vanualailai standing beside the new tamtam in front of the Research office at the Laucala Campus.
A new landmark in the form of a wooden tamtam now stands in front of the Research Office at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in Fiji.
The tamtam was unveiled on 15 May, 2017 in a ceremony officiated by staff of the Research Office led by Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International, representatives from the Vanuatu High Commission and students of Vanuatu.
In a brief address, Professor Armstrong said he was deeply honoured by the work of the carvers and their “contribution to this place of learning”.
“This is the hub of the organisation of research across the entire University and 12 member states of USP, so we have the honour of having this tamtam and we do value it very much,” he remarked.
Professor Jito Vanualailai said when he joined the Research Office in 2011, the old tamtam was the first thing that grabbed his attention.
“The tamtam gives the Research Office a very special feature and it is a significant landmark which symbolises the culture of one of our very own member countries of the Pacific, which is Vanuatu. It is a real privilege to host the continuity of the tamtam culture here,” he added.
Mr Emmanuel Blessing, Chargé d’Affairrés of the Vanuatu High Commission in Suva, said the significance of having the tamtam at the Research office is very important.
“Back in Vanuatu the tamtam is usually put up at meeting places, where communities come together to talk about issues and solve problems.
“It is indeed a great privilege on our part having to be here today. It signifies that USP places high importance on the value of culture and Vanuatu being a member of USP, is grateful and we consider this a privilege,” he mentioned.
“It is a proud day for us because we know that whenever people from Vanuatu go past this office, it gives them a sense of ownership and belonging,” he stated further.
Mr Blessing thanked the Research Office and USP for their support.
Mr Martin David, President of the USP Student Association (USPSA) Laucala, thanked Professor Amrstrong and Professor Jito Vanualailai, Director Research for agreeing to host the ceremony and allowing the tamtam to be placed in front of the Research Office.
The tamtam was carved by Vanuatu student George Koran, originally from North Ambrym, Vanuatu who merely passed by the Research Office one day and noticed the wear and tear on the old one. Mr Koran is studying the Bachelor of Science programme, majoring in Environment and Geospatial Science.
The tamtam was carved from a breadfruit tree branch which fell at the Laucala Campus during Cyclone Winston.
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