John Samy -  USP Alumni Network

John Samy


Your home country?
Originally from Fiji but currently residing in New Zealand. 

2. What programme(s) did you graduate in and in which year?
Bachelor of Arts (Double majors: Economics and Sociology) in 1972

3. What was your most memorable moment as a student?
Having my parents attend my graduation because without their support and sacrifice, I would not have been able to attend University

4. Describe your experience while studying at USP.
Stimulating, developmental and formative. The regional character of the University is among its strengths: enriching.

5. What was your greatest achievement while studying at USP?Graduating ahead of the scheduled time.

6. After graduating from USP, what were some of the highlights of your career?
In Fiji, heading the Economic Development and Planning Ministry and providing team leadership for the formulation of two of Fiji’s five year Development Plans; and concurrently serving as Chairman, Prices and Incomes Board for seven years ( the latter role without any remuneration). Then joining the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and playing a pivotal lead role in major reform programmes in the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Republic of Korea and Vietnam. Being appointed, in July 2003, Deputy Director General of the largest operational department in ADB. In the ADB’s  40+ year history, this was the highest level in staff position occupied by someone from the South Pacific including New Zealand.

7. How do you think USP helped you in your career?
The overall environment was very conducive to learning: good balance between structure and informality; scale; ready access to lecturers.

8. After graduating from USP, what has been your greatest achievement?
In professional career, too wide-ranging to single out one. After ADB, being able to go back to motherland Fiji and to play a pivotal role in the formulation of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress and to establish the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji (FencFiji).

9. What inspires you and why?
The poor, disadvantaged and the vulnerable in our societies. We need to work on all fronts to ensure equitable access to opportunities to all.

10. What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
Seize the opportunity; make the most of it.

11. Please share your top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
There is no substitute for putting in the hard yards. Work hard and smart.
Sharpen up on communication skills.
Seek excellence

12. What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated?
Served as Court of Convocation member in the University Council for 3 years

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