Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President (4th from left), Dr Krishna Kotra, Science Programme Coordinator (3rd from left) with the visiting team at Emalus Campus.
A team of fifteen (15) communication and journalism students and four (4) staff are attending a two-week-long mobility project from 28 September 2018 at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Emalus Campus in Vanuatu.
This is part of the University’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Griffith University (GU), which is being funded under the New Colombo Plan, to learn from local communities and experts on how best to report climate change in the Pacific.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP said he was delighted to see young Australians take an interest in understanding climate change in the Pacific, and was very supportive of Griffith Communication and Journalism Department study tour to Vanuatu.
“Australia and the Pacific are trying to increase better understanding of each other and particularly with the New Colombo plan, there is an effort to get more Australians to really become part of understanding the Pacific and for the Pacific to have a stronger constituent in Australia,” he said.
“It is great to see young people come out and get exposure to the Pacific and likewise for our young people to get to interact with students from Australia,” he remarked.
Professor Chandra said he was very pleased to have signed the MoU with Griffith University earlier this year and he hoped that it would be the start of a much deeper partnership.
“Griffith is a good University and we find that in the age of collaboration and networking, all of us can be more successful if we work with others,” he said.
Professor Chandra’s comment comes at a time when USP is in the final stages of drafting its new Strategic Plan.
Mr Ruben Markward, Emalus Campus Director welcomed the team to the Campus saying it was a welcome initiation to further strengthen their collaboration. He assured them that the Campus would facilitate any collaborative research that needed to be undertaken in Vanuatu.
Dr Krishna Kotra, Science Programme Coordinator at the Emalus Campus, who initiated the MoU expressed that he was delighted in seeing such a big team visiting as part of the student exchange.
He said that Emalus Campus has been facilitating such research tours as part of many collaborations and this visit is another such occasion.
He further stated that the GU’s “Griffith Climate Change Response Programme” is leading multiple research studies in Vanuatu and its collaboration with USP is enabling Ni-Vanuatu students gain experience in the wide spectrum of climate change.
USP’s research collaborations at Emalus Campus are always targeted to involve students to be part of any research studies as they would further boost the learnt theoretical knowledge, he added.
Dr Kerrie Foxwell-Norton, Griffith Climate Change mobility programme team leader and Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences School Senior Lecturer said that the partnership with USP was important for them and the university’s Communication and Journalism Department in particular was committed to forging stronger ties with partners in the Pacific.
“Griffith University in general and our School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, has an ongoing and strong commitment to environmental and social issues, and these types of mobility programmes epitomise our work,” Dr Foxwell-Norton said.
“The students had wonderful time learning from the community and experts in Vanuatu, and I hope we will have many more opportunities to learn, understand and share knowledge with some of our closest neighbours in the region,” he added.
After a week in Port Vila, the Griffith team will fly to the island of Tanna to study the impact of climate change on one of the islands that was most affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015.
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