Pōwhiri ceremony marks the beginning of the inaugural CPEM


Auckland NZ – Pacific Islands Forum education leaders, senior government officials, development partners, civil society organisations, policymakers, students, and educators were accorded a traditional Maōri welcome ceremony, Pōwhiri marking the beginning of the inaugural Conference of Pacific Education Ministers (CPEM) at the Aotea Centre, Auckland- New Zealand this morning.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna led the delegation for the opening and highlighted the need for Pacific people to find ways to overcome and conjure up solutions to the climate crisis confronting the region, including Fiji.

“Climate change is our daily challenge now in the Pacific, and through education, we can empower young people to explore solutions to issues affecting our Pacific people. They must have the necessary knowledge and expertise to find a way for us to get through the climate crisis,” Mr Puna said.

New Zealand Education Minister Jan Tinetti will host the inaugural Conference of Pacific Education Ministers (CPEM) for three days.

“I am looking forward to the breadth of engagement opportunities this important conference will present for dialogue with my counterparts from the Pacific,” Jan Tinetti said.

“Collectively, we will be able to share our extensive education system and policy knowledge, engage in talanoa and learn from each other.”

Minister Tinetti will share her perspective on the conference’s theme, ‘Empowering Education for Pacific People,’ during her plenary speech. One of the primary objectives of the conference is to define what empowering education means for Pacific people and societies.

“This will guide policy and decision-making to ensure students are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and values to succeed and contribute to their communities, nations, and region.”

“Pacific Education Ministers will be meeting face-to-face, kanohi ki te kanohi, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is very special for me, as my first international hosting opportunity in this portfolio, to demonstrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s manaaki and hospitality to our neighbours,” Jan Tinetti said.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia said the conference would complement efforts by Pacific Island countries to realise their education goals, recognising limited capacities and resources.

“Driven by the principle of regionalism, PacREF provides a mechanism for collaboration between countries, Implementing Agencies (IAs) and Development Partners (DPs) for the collective benefit of the region and individual countries,” Professor Ahluwalia said

USP jointly organises CPEM through the PacREF Facilitating Unit (PFU) and the Government of New Zealand, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) serving as the lead agency in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Ministers during the conference will be provided with the opportunity to share knowledge and good practices, identify areas of action and explore innovative approaches that member countries can adopt to develop education systems that deliver educational programmes empowering the people of the Pacific to make their own decisions affecting their future.

Click here for more information:  https://www.usp.ac.fj/cpem

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