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USP's 26th Chancellors official visit to Laucala Campus

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The 26th Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (USP) and the President of Marshall Islands, Her Excellency Hilda C. Heine (middle – front row) had the official visit at the University’s Laucala Campuses on 16 and 17 September 2019.

The 26th Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the President of Marshall Islands Her Excellency Hilda C. Heine who has been appointed to serve in the role from 1 July 2019 for a term of one year.
H.E Heine will be formally installed during USP’s Laucala graduation ceremony on 19 September, 2019. H.E Heine will be the first female Chancellor for the University. The Chancellor is the titular head of USP, who confers the qualifications of the University.
President Heine succeeds the outgoing Chancellor, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, the President of the Republic of Kiribati. The Chancellor of the University is appointed from USP’s 12 member countries in alphabetical rotation.
H.E Heine and First Gentleman, Mr Thomas Kijiner, had their official visit at the University’s Laucala Campuses on 16 September 2019.
Upon their arrival they were met by, Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President.
H.E Heine met members of USP’s Senior Management Team and was given a tour of the campuses in Laucala, namely, the upper, Marine and Statham Campuses.
As part of the tour, the delegation visited the Library, our state-of-art Japan-Pacific ICT Centre, Oceania Centre of Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies (OCACPS), Institute of Marine Studies and the Graduate School of Business.
At the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre, the delegation observed how the USPNet works in connecting the University’s regional campuses in learning and teaching. They also toured the Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre.
On 17 September, they visited the Oceania Art Gallery and OCACPS where the Pasifika Voices and Oceania Dance Theatre group performed for the delegation. The groups were led by Mr Igelese Ete, head of Performing Arts.
Soon after, they had a drive through the Halls of Residence where the Coordinator for Halls, Mr Alfred Antonio showed them around.
As part of their visit at the Institute of Marine Studies, Professor Ciro Rico, Head of School showed them the aquaculture and post-harvest lab.
At the Graduate School of Business located at Statham Campus, the delegation was welcomed by Professor Gurmeet Singh, Head of School and his team. Professor Singh informed H.E Heine about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at USP, which is the only MBA programme in Fiji to be accredited by the Association of MBA’s.
The tour ended with lunch with, Mr Winston Thompson, Professor Pal Ahluwalia and Mrs Sandy Ahluwalia at Wheel House, Tikos Restaurant.

H.E Heine and First Gentleman, Mr Thomas Kijiner at the Halls of Residence, USP.

President Hilda C. Heine, Ed. D, the eighth President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is the first Marshallese woman to be chosen as President from 33 membership of the Marshall Islands Nitijela (Parliament). President Heine is one of three women elected to the Nitijela following the November 2015 general election representing Aur Atoll for a term of 4 years. President Heine previously served as Minister of Education in the administration of former President Christopher J. Loeak. 
Prior to entering politics, President Heine was the Programme Director of the Pacific Comprehensive Assistance Center at the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) in Majuro from 2006 to 2011 and Director of Policy and Capacity Building and Scholar for FAS Education, consecutively, for PREL and based in Honolulu from 1995 to 2006. Before relocation to the State of Hawaii, President Heine served the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands starting as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school administrator, college President before being named as the Secretary of Education. 
During her tenure as President of the College of the Marshall Islands and as Secretary of Education, President Heine supervised the transformation of the College from continuing education program into a fully operational community college. President Heine currently serves as an advisor, officer and member of multiple taskforces, committees and working groups. As Minister of Education, President Heine headed the RMI Teacher Standards and Licensing Board and chaired the Human Resources in Health Taskforce. President Heine was awarded honorary doctorate degree from the College of the Marshall Islands.
President Heine was born on Jaluit Atoll to Reverend Bourne and Kathy Heine in 1951 where she grew up and attended public school and moved to Majuro to pursue her secondary level education at Marshall Islands High School. Following high school studies, President Heine attended University of Oregon (1970), where she earned her undergraduate degree, a master’s degree at the University of Hawaii in 1975 and an Education doctorate at the University of Southern California in 2004.
President Heine co-authored a number of publications and reports.
President Heine and her husband, Thomas Kijiner Jr., have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. She enjoys reading historical and contemporary writings with special emphasis on education and social administrations in Small Island Developing States and likes to listen to music and cooking.


This news item was published on 18 Sep 2019 09:35:04 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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