From L-R: Mr Hiroyuki Sawada, current Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Ms Yukari Ono, new JICA Resident Representative and Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP after their meeting at the Laucala Campus.
The new Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Ms Yukari Ono paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 21 December 2017.
She was accompanied by her predecessor, Mr Hiroyuki Sawada, current Resident Representative of JICA Fiji Office. The delegation was met by a USP team led by Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP.
In welcoming Ms Ono, Professor Chandra said, “We are very pleased to receive you and welcome you in your new role”.
“We have always had a very strong partnership with Japan that goes back at least three decades,” he said.
According to Professor Chandra, Japan’s contribution is evident in the University as the entire lower campus where the School of Marine Resources is based, was funded by Japan; USPNet is led by Japan in collaboration with Australia and New Zealand; and the Japan-ICT Centre, is a fine example of what ICTs can be used for.
“We also have done a lot of people to people movement via the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) and we have had a number of technical assistance and projects from Japan,” Professor Chandra said.
He further noted that the Japanese Ambassador recently talked about resuming the teaching of Japanese language and culture.
“Really it has been a relationship which has been ongoing and expanding,” he mentioned.
Professor Chandra said the current project is the USPNet hub so Ms Ono’s appointment is a timely one as “our relationship is very cordial”.
“I extend USP’s welcome and assure you that you will receive our cooperation and we will work with you to strengthen our relationship even further,” he stated.
Professor Chandra also recognised Mr Sawada’s long contribution to USP saying his personal interested enabled the Japan-USP relationship to be strengthened.
Ms Ono said she looked forward to working with USP and to maintaining the close relationship with Japan.
Mr Sawada said he was honoured to be associated with USP, adding that he would miss the opportunity of being present when the University celebrates its 50 years of existence in 2018.
Professor Chandra emphasised the importance of the USPNet, saying USP is grateful for the financial and technical support by New Zealand towards the USPNet Enhancement Project.
JICA had commissioned a Technical Survey team to conduct a detailed technical study of USPNet infrastructure with a view to designing and developing a new redundant USPNet hub.
Professor Chandra confirmed that a decision will be announced by USP in January 2018.
JICA has also made an important proposition to replace the Hub Station located at Laucala Campus in Suva and is willing to fund the second hub for redundancy purposes.
“Eventually we will want the USPNet to be a modern 21st century learning educational network built on a good solid foundation so that it is better designed and will continue to enhance USP’s position as a regional organisation and reaching out to assist countries make greater use of ICT, considering that some of the countries have very limited human capacity,” Professor Chandra added.
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