H.E Dr Hilda Heine unveiling the plaque during the official opening of the new RMI USP Campus.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) officially opened its new Campus in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) on 23 May 2017.
The opening of the new USP RMI Campus was ahead of the University’s 84th Council Meeting from 24 – 25 May 2017.
Present at the opening ceremony was Her Excellency, Dr Hilda Heine, President of the Republic of Marshall Islands; Honourable Henry Puna, USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands; Honourable Wilbur Heine, Minister of Education of RMI; Chairman of the Council of Iroij and Traditional Leaders; H.E Mr Diann-wen Tang, Taiwan Ambassador to RMI; Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President; Honourable Ministers and Members of RMI Parliament; Members of USP Council; USP senior staff from Laucala Campus; Representatives of USP’s Development Partners; architect and building engineers; and staff and students of the University’s RMI Campus.
(L-R) Minister for Education Hon Wilbur Heine (far left); RMI Traditional Leaders; USP Chancellor,Hon. Henry Puna; H.E Dr Hilda Heine, Pro Chancellor Mr Winston Thompson, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra; and other dignitaries during the official opening of the new USP RMI Campus in Majuro.
USP carried out renovations to the Long Island Hotel acquired from the Government of RMI for a new Campus from July 2016.
USP initially contributed USD 0.7m and the RMI Government contributed USD 0.5m towards this renovation project. The University Council approved an additional USD0.813m towards renovations works to make up for any shortfalls.
Hon. Mr Wilbur Heine, Minister of Education said the RMI Government remains very committed to the development of the present and future generation of Marshallese people.
“The commitment is expressed in our purchase of this beautiful facility. Now we rely on USP to use this to raise the level of tertiary education in the country,” Hon. Mr Heine said.
“As you all witness today, with the scarce and limited land and financial resources at our disposal, the RMI Government has placed a priority in upgrading the facilities for USP.”
He called on USP to enhance students’ abilities to know how to adapt and survive not only at home but in the robustly changing world.
“Enhance them with the knowledge to be innovative enough to make good use of our natural resources, and just as importantly, guide them to become good ethical citizens of our country,” Hon. Mr Heine added.
The Building 1 of the new USP RMI Campus.
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Mr Winston Thompson said the opening of the new Campus marked a momentous occasion and an opportune time of celebration for the Government and people of RMI, and for the University.
“The new campus demonstrates the firm commitment of the Government of RMI and USP towards working together for the development of this country’s education sector and marks the fruition of the vision of the father of the nation, the late President Amata Kabua and to which H.E Dr Heine has made a huge contribution,” Mr Thompson said.
The new and enlarged campus in RMI, Mr Thompson highlighted, will help address the demand for higher education in RMI and will also be a practical solution for addressing issues such as climate change and sustainable development.
While acknowledging H.E Dr Heine’s presence at the opening ceremony, he thanked the RMI Government’s continued support through its Ministry of Education to the University over the years.
“Your own personal involvement as Minister of Education has played a big part in bringing us to where we are today. You and your Government’s decisive and generous action to purchase the Long Island Hotel and the new campus is the main reason for our celebration today,” he said.
USP, Mr Thompson said, shares a strong relationship with the governments and people of its twelve (12) member countries, among which, RMI is a most valued partner and with the new campus, the University is able to deliver even greater value to the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Some key features of the new building include a highly efficient LED lighting system with weather resistant exterior mounted lights with daylight sensor technology, solar power assisted air conditioning systems, rain water harvesting and storage as well as sea water harvesting for use in the sanitary services in addition to recycled timber flooring and doors.
The building boasts the latest teaching and learning technology in its five class rooms and its two video conference rooms and the library.
Its two science labs are also some of the best equipped in the University. The building also boasts a state-of-the-art fire panel and evacuation system, firefighting equipment and a reinforced cyclone roof structure and emergency generator back up.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President said the opening of the new campus is a landmark development that should significantly uplift the quality and range of higher education delivered in RMI—and indeed in the whole of Micronesia as other countries take more advantage of what this campus will offer.
“The experience of the University in the Marshall Islands since RMI became a member indicates that the provision of strong academic programmes, expert teaching by well-qualified and dedicated faculty, high academic standards and personalised student support services enable Marshallese students to achieve success and attain a standard that is accepted and appreciated as world class in both pre-tertiary and tertiary studies.
“The new campus will reinforce our standards and encourage the students and staff to lift their performance even higher,” Professor Chandra added.
The new USP RMI Campus renovations was jointly designed and supervised by USP and Kramer Ausenco Fiji Ltd.
The new USP RMI Campus would be fully operational and open for classes from Semester two 2017.
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