His Excellency Major General (Ret'd) Jioji Konusi Konrote, USP’s 24th Chancellor and President of Fiji during his address at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University’s Laucala Campus.
The Pacific region’s aspirations to advance in all aspects of life would just remain a dream without a high quality tertiary education.
This was the message by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 24th Chancellor, His Excellency Major General (Ret'd) Jioji Konusi Konrote, President of Fiji during a dinner in honour of his installation as the Chancellor on 22 September 2017.
While acknowledging the University’s substantial contribution to the region’s intellectual capacity and the skills-set of the people, H.E Konrote said that USP has ensured that it not only remains relevant in the ever-changing demands for higher quality education, but that it actually leads the way in this endeavour.
“I am confident that many countries in the region and their respective Governments consider USP as the University of choice as they seek to improve life for their people now, and well into the future,” H.E Konrote said.
He further stated that the fact that an average of 1000 students graduating in each graduation ceremony at the Laucala Campus alone in recent years, is a reflection of the University’s popularity and growth.
This, he added, is not even counting the graduating numbers in the other regional campuses and also not counting the significant infrastructural developments in all the countries where the University has now established itself.
“I consider it a distinct honour and privilege that I will be able to visit some of these campuses during my tenure as Chancellor,” H.E Konrote expressed.
He offered his appreciation to Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, members of the Senior Management Team (SMT), staff and the supporters of the University and added that, “to say that you have all worked exceptionally hard over the past years to grow the University could be an understatement.”
During the graduation, both Mr Thompson and Professor Chandra mentioned how grateful they were, that it was now Fiji’s turn to take on the Chancellorship of the University especially as University’s 50th Anniversary will be celebrated next year.
To this, H.E Konrote mentioned that he is more excited, equally humbled and honoured that he should be the Chancellor on this historical occasion.
“I look forward to working with the University over the next few months not only to celebrate how far we have come as a regional institution, but importantly to also help lay the foundation for another resoundingly successful journey ahead,” the new Chancellor said.
Talking about Fiji’s role towards the University, Mr Thompson said that USP was set up in Fiji and it had the biggest role to play as one of the member countries. He also acknowledged the contributions of the development partners in providing the assistance in kind as well as supporting the many students who have come through.
(From L-R): Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Mrs Dharma Chandra, Mrs Queenie Thompson, First Lady, Mrs Sarote Konrote, H.E Major General (Ret'd) Jioji Konusi Konrote, USP Chancellor and President of Fiji, H.E Reteta Rimon, Kiribati High Commissioner, and Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council.
“We have now 47,000 alumni who are spread across the Pacific and who have been produced from USP over the last fifty (50) years and these are the people who not only occupy the public services, but also the corporate world,” Mr Thompson said.
He told H.E Konrote that his chancellorship marked a very proud moment and assured him that the University community represented by Professor Chandra, SMT, staff, students and alumni will be supporting him as he takes on his role as the titular head of USP.
Mr Thompson thanked everyone present at the dinner for being part of the celebration to honour the installation of the Chancellor.
He wished H.E Konrote and First Lady, Mrs Sarote Konrote well for the President’s term as the Chancellor and assured his full support towards them.
In his address, Professor Chandra said that it is very fitting that the President of Fiji assumes the Chancellorship because of the foundational role that Fiji has played in the history of the University and also because Fiji has contributed so much towards nurturing the University as the regional institution, and continues to do so.
He thanked H.E Konrote for a job well done during the second Laucala Campus graduation and added that he did it with great poise and interest.
“During the graduation, we could see that each graduate got a moment with the Chancellor and we thank you very much for that,” Professor Chandra remarked.
He referred to the tour that the Chancellor did of the Laucala Campus in July this year and highlighted that H.E Konrote did the tour with such great and genuine interest in the operations of the University, and added that a number of staff felt encouraged by the fact that the Chancellor showed great interest and curiosity in the work of the University.
Professor Chandra joined Mr Thompson in assuring the new Chancellor that everyone in the University will do all they can to make H.E Konrote’s chancellorship a very special and successful one.
Talking about the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018, Professor Chandra noted that the University will not only celebrate its achievement, but position itself for the next 50 to 100 years because the University is a central agency for regional cooperation and integration, and building the most important resource, which is ‘our people’.
The dinner was co-hosted by the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, and the Vice-Chancellor and President.
Those present at the dinner included Mrs Konrote, Mr Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson, Professor Chandra and Mrs Dharma Chandra, High Commissioners, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the corporate sector and staff of the University.
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