Dr Gerard Finin, Director, Pacific Islands Development Programme, Dr Richard Vuylsteke, President of EWC, and Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP.
The President of East-West Centre (EWC) in Hawaii, Dr Richard Vuylsteke paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 14 November 2017.
Dr Vuylsteke was accompanied by Dr Gerard Finin, Director, Pacific Islands Development Programme (PIDP) at EWC and they discussed possibilities of future collaborations between the two institutions in areas of research, learning and teaching.
In welcoming them Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President thanked the President of EWC for visiting USP.
Professor Chandra acknowledged Dr Finn’s presence and said that he is a good friend of the University, given that PIDP is one of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies.
He added that in the past, the two (2) institutions have had a few collaborations together. Students and staff have participated in conferences and workshops organised by both organisations and they have provided training programmes jointly at USP.
Professor Chandra especially mentioned Dr Steven Halapua, former Director of PIDP who is an alumnus as well as a former staff of USP.
“I think there is scope for continuation of the collaboration so today you will have the opportunity to interact with other members of our Senior Management Team and some academic staff. Later you will have the opportunity to tour the University,” he told the delegates from EWC.
Dr Vuylsteke said that the role of EWC is complementary and added that the Centre deals with issues such as food security, transportation, supply-chain issues, development and trade, economics, and health consequences of urban expansion, such as diseases and flu.
He added that as the Centre is approaching its 60th year (in 2020), it is important to ensure that what they are doing is truly relevant to the region.
One of the things, Dr Vuylsteke noted has been done for a long time, is the cross-cultural/cross-national gathering.
He added that the distinctive feature of every programme conducted by the Centre is having participants from several cultural groups and/or countries.
One of the areas for future collaboration that the President highlighted was to start taking more vigorous advantage of advancements in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Now, he added, there is opportunity to do things through the use of ICT, for instance video-conferences.
“My team back at EWC take the connection with the Pacific very seriously,” Dr Vuylsteke further stated.
Some of the areas of collaboration deliberated on during the roundtable discussion included:
Use of ICT for remote learning and teaching;
Joint research activities;
Attachment of students and staff in research activities;
Participation in seminars and workshops such as the Young Leadership Programme; and
Dr Vuylsteketook office as the EWC 11th Chief Executive in January this year. A former EWC grantee and staff member, he re-joined the Centre after several decades living in Asia and serving most recently as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
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