(From L-R): Hon Mark Brown, Cook Islands Minister of Finance, Ms Fine Arnold, Cook Islands Red Cross and Ms Theresa Manarangi-Trott, Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) rightly takes pride in its Pacific location and regional focus and USP students are Pacific-based, Pacific focussed and heavily invested in Pacific futures.
This was the sentiment expressed by Ms Fine Arnold, USP alumnus and Secretary-General of Cook Islands Red Cross during the USP Plus Meeting “Contribution of USP to the Economic, Social and Cultural Development of the Cook Islands” on 31 January 2018 at the University’s Cook Islands Campus.
Ms Arnold graduated with a Bachelor of Law through the University’s Emalus Campus in Vanuatu in 2003.
She highlighted that those who choose to study at USP, rather than a university in New Zealand or Australia, enter a unique, Pacific-oriented community, focussed on learning and personal development.
“Part of my own success in the Red Cross comes from the huge range of contacts I have right across the Pacific and I owe those contacts to the University community of which all graduates are a part of,” Ms Arnold said.
Talking about USP’s effect on civil society, she noted that USP has contributed to the success in areas of sustainability and governance of a Civil Society.
She added that as a result of the learning experience and environment that USP offers its students, the USP effect translates into a real contribution to the strength and effectiveness of civil society organisations.
Ms Arnold noted that the President of the Cook Islands Red Cross, Mr Patrick Arioka, is also an alumnus of USP.
“It is no coincidence that we find USP graduates overrepresented in key civil society positions,” Ms Arnold said.
She stated that their education and learning at USP, and their Pacific focus has motivated actors in positions of influence in civil society, adding that USP effect grows as each year goes by.
Ms Arnold further added that study opportunity for some staff holding key positions at the Red Cross is an important part of their career development which is affordable and allows employees to reap the direct benefit of the localised study.
“I think that if we look closely at the Cook Islands graduates of USP, the sheer numbers coming through each year adds value to the available human resources on which Civil Society must rely on,” Ms Arnold mentioned.
While providing examples from her life, the alumnus commented that there is no doubt that relationships and networks built by USP graduates across the Pacific are an important part of getting things done. This, she added, is the effect of the USP community.
At a national level, she said that the number of USP graduates at higher levels of governance mean that the learning and experience of those intelligent and educated individuals is directly available to strengthen the quality of governance in Civil Societies.
Present at the meeting were other alumni speakers including Honourable Mark Brown, Cook Islands Minister of Finance and Ms Theresa Manarangi-Trott from the Chamber of Commerce.
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