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An opportunity not to be missed

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Mr Elvis Kumar accompanying the Duke of Sussex during his visit to USP’s Laucala Campus.

It is not every day that one gets to interact with royalty so for the two students of The University of the South Pacific (USP) Elisha Bano and Elvis Kumar, it was an opportunity that was just too good to be missed.

The duo were tasked with chaperoning the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the moment they set foot at Laucala Campus, introducing them formally and also farewelling them when they departed.

Ms Bano, a recipient of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, said the excitement began building when she was first invited to attend the planning meeting by USP Royal Visit Taskforce.

Ms Elisha Bano showing the royal couple around at the Laucala Campus.

In addition, being asked to chaperone the Royals, share their introductions and guide them as they engaged with youth leaders and students added to Ms Bano’s excitement and honour.

“Of course preparing an introduction for them was no easy task as I had to read a lot and go through a few writing sessions brainstorming to introduce the marvellous work they both do in the communities and across the Commonwealth. There were a few drafts before settling for a write up I was content with,” she shared.

“Meeting them was a momentous occasion, a historic moment and an accomplishment and it was pleasing to see that they are friendly and very down-to-earth.

“To hear them speak from the heart and support youth, education and climate change is comforting as we need all the allies we can get to continue support and advocacy.

“Also hearing the Duchess engage with the youth leaders and students and asking them questions about their fields of study and areas of work demonstrated their interest. It was pleasing to see that both the Duke and Duchess, happily participated in the conversations and jokes with the students and a little with the massive audience present at the grounds,” she said.

“It was a moment of pride and honour for me and the experience was a huge learning step as I am more aware of Royal protocols,” she added.

Ms Bano even stitched her now famous green dress and because the event was livestreamed, she received all sorts of commendations from families and friends.

“I realised then that it was not only a moment of honour and pride for me, it was a family and community matter of pride,” she said.

For an overjoyed Mr Elvis Kumar, the Commonwealth Youth Award winner 2018 and Queen’s Young Leader Highest Commendable Runner-Up 2016, it was the second time meeting the Duke of Sussex.

“The mere thought of chaperoning the Royal couple around during the programme with QYL Elisha and delivering a note of appreciation to them for their work in the Commonwealth and support for youth initiatives added to my excitement,” he said.

“As days got closer, the excitement increased and I had special formal suits done when I got to know that I will be meeting them earlier this year in April during the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London.

Meeting Mr Kumar earlier on in London, the Duke told him “Well, I think you should be The Elvis!”  and that was a moment to be cherished.

He was nervous thinking he might do something terribly wrong when he greeted them but this was quickly shoved aside with all the excitement.

“I felt so honoured to be one of the first few to meet and greet them and welcome them to USP. I sort of had some idea that they would walk away from the red carpet and go to meet the little children, even though it was not part of the programme and they surely did!” he stated.

Mr Kumar also mentioned that their kind and loving nature is something that the world admires including their love for little children which is normally seen in almost all their public engagements,” he shared.

“Finally, delivering the vote of thanks for them was indeed an honour and privilege for me and the fact that they stopped to talk to us despite their tight schedule, giving us creative ideas for projects and assuring their support for our work are the traits of true Royals and Ambassadors,” he added.

Ms Bano said that the feedback from the Royals was that they enjoyed their time at the University and this was the best feedback. 


This news item was published on 25 Oct 2018 04:43:50 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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