USP Solomon Islands campus groundbreaking ceremony, a success
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Mr Takehiko Nakao, President of the ADB at the official launch of the groundbreaking event.
The groundbreaking ceremony the new Solomon Islands Campus of The University of the South Pacific (USP) was successfully held at the KGVI Basketball Court on 24 August, 2017.
The event was officiated by Mr Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands. Present at the occasion were Government Ministers, members of Parliament, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Mr Winston Thompson, Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra, representatives of USP’s Development Partners, representatives of Kramer Ausenco, Solomon Islands Campus Director, staff and students of the USP SI Campus, invited guests and members of the public.
The ADB has provided a loan of US$15.4 million for the development of the new Solomon Islands Campus, which has been guaranteed by the Solomon Islands Government. In addition to this, US$1.5m grant was provided by the ADB’s Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility (CEFPF), for the construction of a solar panel photovoltaic system which will meet 75 per cent of the energy needs at the new Campus.
Mr Takehiko Nakao, President of the ADB spoke of the important role of USP as a regional provider of high quality higher education and the fact that USP represents friendship among Pacific countries.
He pointed out that USP fitted nicely in the ADB’s eight (8) most important principles of rapid and inclusive sustainable development.
“ADB is very supportive of USP and when I visited the Laucala campus in October 2016, I was so impressed by its beauty and the enthusiasm from students during my lecture,” he noted.
Mr Takehiko said that only through education does society become equal and inclusive.
“USP represents friendship and cooperation between countries in the region. This development is a symbol of the future of the country and the Pacific, and the ADB is committed to continue to be a very important partner in this endeavour,” he added.
Honourable Manasseh Sogovare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands expressed his government’s confidence in USP and assured it of continued support saying the campus is purposely designed to increase access to quality University education to citizens, particularly young Solomon Islanders who will become the future leaders of this nation.
“In that regard I am especially delighted in being supportive of my Government including past Solomon Islands governments who have facilitated the process of the development of the new USP SI Campus.
“To this end USP, our regional University has grown considerably since its inauguration in 1968 and today USP has established a solid foundation and has created successfully a learning ambience conducive to the whole person development of students from all over the Pacific Island countries and abroad,” Hon. Sogovare remarked.
“The excellent track record of its graduates in both employment and communities especially here at home in the Pacific speaks well of USP’s remarkable progress over the past years and in that regard this groundbreaking event is of special importance for the present and future governments and people of Solomon Islands,” he said.
He stated that the groundbreaking event represented a win, with respect to key initiatives undertaken by both USP and the Solomon Islands Government in order for Solomon Islands and its people to grab the opportunities to access quality University education and winning the future through investments in education.
Hon. Sogovare said Solomon Islands have bright, energetic, forward-thinking young people, who both deserve and want to complete their education at the highest level possible and as a government and national leader, “it is our responsibility therefore to provide these young people with the best educational opportunities”.
These opportunities he said, will help create and generate economic opportunities both for their own and personal fulfilment as well as for social and economic future of our country as a whole.
In welcoming everyone, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP said it was a momentous occasion for the Government and people of Solomon Islands, USP’s member Governments and USP. He also acknowledged the support of the ADB without which the project would not have been possible.
Professor Chandra referred to USP’s important role in producing the region’s human resources; in how the new Campus would meet the requirements for higher education in the Solomon Islands and in the region, the defining character of USP’s provision being quality attested to by international accreditations “and our determination to make the new campus a vibrant intellectual hub for Solomon Islands working closely with national institutions and the Government”.
Mr Takehiko Nakao, President of the ADB (second from left), Honourable Manasseh Sogovare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor of USP and Professor Rajesh Chandra, at the official launch of the groundbreaking event.
The new campus he remarked, demonstrates the firm commitment of the Government of Solomon Islands and USP in working together for the development of this country’s education system.
“This is a momentous and historic occasion for the Government and people of Solomon Islands, all our member countries and the University community.
“We are also very pleased that through this project, USP and ADB have been able to extend the range of collaboration and we are delighted that recently we signed a cooperation agreement between our two organisations for knowledge-sharing,” Professor Chandra noted.
He also thanked Hon. Sogovare and his Government for ensuring that this campus, which has taken a long time to plan for, becomes a reality.
“USP greatly acknowledges your leadership, support and decisive action without which we would not have reached today,” he said.
Some key features of the new building design include facilities such as a fully digitised library, outdoor performance space, and moot court, specialised study areas with device charging ports, smart classrooms/lecture theatres and a large multi-purpose hall.
This will be USP’s first campus to have distinctive features such as roof mounted Solar PV panels, Public Health facility and an overall Pacific theme. It also comprises a well-thought-out disability access through the campus together with disability seating provisions at the lecture theatres.
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