Hon Jean Pierre Nirua MP, Minister for Education and Training delivering the keynote address
The Vanuatu Minister for Education and Training, Honourable Jean Pierre Nirua officially opened The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Emalus Campus 50th Anniversary Celebrations in Vanuatu on 23 July 2018.
The event was witnessed by officials of the Ministry of Education and other government organisations, representatives of the diplomatic corps, USP staff and students as well as members of the alumni.
The Campus Director Mr Ruben Markward acknowledged the assistance and support that the University received from the government, development partners and other stakeholders as he welcomed everyone to the event.
In welcoming the Hon. Nirua, Mr Makward told him that “your presence speaks a lot about the government support to this institution.”
In his keynote address, Hon. Nirua said the 50th Anniversary is a significant milestone in the life of USP.
“The University started its operations in 1968 and since then it certainly succeeded in establishing a strong reputation as a leading University in our region,” Hon. Nirua stated.
The Minister alluded briefly to the historical background of USP and said that the decision was made in the 1960s to establish a university “in recognition of the importance of higher education to the future socioeconomic and political progress of the countries and territories.”
“We celebrate today the fact that through their wisdom, our early leaders with the clear sense of direction and purpose cooperated and established this university. Fiji being host and just next to Vanuatu made more worthwhile,” Hon. Nirua commented.
Vanuatu’s association with the University began tweleve (12) years before the country achieved independence in 1980.
In 1972 the first ni-Vanuatu female, Kathleen Rarua graduated with a Diploma in Education and later in 1973 two first ni-Vanuatu males graduated.
Hon. Nirua acknowledged the University’s development partners adding that “the success of USP that we celebrate in 2018 is also about the strong relationship that the institution has with governments and other partners.”
Looking to the next 50 years the Minister expressed satisfaction about USP’s continuous efforts in international accreditation of its programmes.
He remarked that it is reassuring for any Government and development partner to note that USP has programmes and processes that are externally assessed and validated.
He urged the university to pursue further initiatives in some areas, such as greater accessibility to its programmes through enhanced online delivery and face-to-face delivery at Emalus.
The Minister also urged all USP alumni to be part of the celebrations, adding that the graduates are the products of USP and they are the ones to be celebrated.
A book compiled by Emeritus Professor in Law, Dr Donald Patterson was presented to Hon. Nirua as token of appreciation to the government and people of Vanuatu for being good hosts to the university since 1980.
The 50th Anniversary Plaque was also unveiled at the ceremony. The opening now launches Vanuatu’s Moment to Shine, which will be held from 6 – 10 August 2018.
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