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Launch of SPICTEX 2011

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The Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra during the SPICTEX 2011 launch.

The launch of the South Pacific Information and Communications Technology Exposition (SPICTEX) 2011 was commemorated by The University of the South Pacific at the Tanoa Plaza in Suva on 20 June. The inaugural ICT Expo, which is scheduled to be held from 20 - 23 July 2011, will be hosted at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at USP’s Laucala Campus. Being the first of its kind for Fiji and the region, SPICTEX is an initiative of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) at USP, in partnership with the Government of Fiji and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). SPICTEX was officially launched by the Chief Guest and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who emphasised that ICT plays a major role in the lives of all citizens of the world and is critical to the provision of services, operations, and developments in education, medicine, governance, and industries. The Prime Minister pointed out some initiatives undertaken by his Government to advance ICT growth in Fiji, such as the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, reduction of import duty on smart phones, introduction of the Telecommunication Levy on incoming international calls to fund future ICT projects, and capacity building through participation in upcoming regional ICT workshops and forums. He highlighted that tertiary institutions are critical to the development of ICT as they build human capacity through research and development and provide technological changes. In congratulating the SPICTEX partners, the Prime Minister said that the collaboration between the Fiji Government, USP and JICA to facilitate the Expo is “significant”. “The Expo presents the first organised large scale opportunity for local and regional companies and organisations to review and explore how ICT can help improve businesses, enhance the quality of life for the people of the region and drive economic growth,” he added. The Prime Minister noted that the involvement of experts from Japan in the Expo will also be highly beneficial to the attendees as these experts will share their expertise and knowledge in the area of Cyber Security and Business Incubation. He acknowledged the generosity of the Government of Japan for establishing the Japan Pacific ICT Centre at USP so that it is available to students from around the region. In his address, the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra said that the regional nature of USP and the scattered nature of the population make ICT fundamentally important to the University. He added that the completion of the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at USP has further complemented the University’s ICT development and capabilities such as additional and advanced education and training in ICT and the possibilities for complex research and international networking. According to Professor Chandra, “SPICTEX is an important initiative on the part of the University to ensure that the benefits of ICT flow to the relevant stakeholders.” The Vice-Chancellor stressed that the Pacific needs to have modern and dynamic ICT as the region gets more integrated into the globalised world. “ICT impacts not only the economy, but also offers huge opportunities to improve the lives of the ordinary people through social networking, e-health, e-governance, and e-education, apart from reducing the impact of distance and isolation,” he explained. Professor Chandra expressed his sincere thanks to the Governments of Fiji and Japan for their strong and sustained support towards the University.   SPICTEX is based on three main themes: ‘ICT in Education, ICT in Business and ICT for All’ with a focus on target groups such as students, ICT industries, regional educators and the general public. Among the many activities planned for the Expo are presentations by international guest speakers, ICT symposium and panel discussions, information sessions for the public, product and service exhibitions by local and international ICT companies, and quiz competitions for schools. Speaking at the launch, the Dean of FSTE, Dr Anjeela Jokhan elaborated on the four-day Expo which will be open to the public for free.   “The Expo aims to provide something for all members of the community to see, participate in, enjoy and learn,” she said. According to Dr Jokhan, the major objectives of SPICTEX are to establish links between the industries and regional educational institutes, create greater ICT awareness, showcase the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre and provide information to the general public about ICT and its influence in the society.   The closing remarks were made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration, HR and Regional Campuses), Dr Esther Williams who thanked the partners and sponsors of SPICTEX. The function was attended by the Attorney General, Mr Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Mr Takato Maki, JICA Deputy Representative, Mr Yutaka Fukase, senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the USP Senior Management Team and other invited guests.


This news item was published on 22 Jun 2011 11:42:34 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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