Pita Tuiloma -  USP Alumni Network

Pita Tuiloma

An interest in governance and diplomacy and the burning desire to pursue higher education to secure better employment were the motivating factors for Pita Tuiloma to leave his job and study at The University of the South Pacific.

“I started working for the government in 1988 and then finally was appointed acting Manager Human Resources at the Land Transport Authority until I decided to enhance my education to progress in the labor market structure,” he said. 

But for Pita, completing his studies in order to graduate took a lot of hard work, patience and sheer determination not only because he was a private student but because of his eyesight. 

“I have been born with only one eyesight, it’s like a birth mark to me since I grew up and it has become a normal part of my life”, said the man from Keteira, Moala, Lau, Fiji. 

“It was a challenge for me at USP having this disability especially in reading and taking notes from the blackboard or from PowerPoint Presentations because sometimes the words and alphabets were too small for me to read. 

Even the books in the library were pretty difficult to read because of the font size. At first, I had to use my sense of hearing when in lectures as well as my network of friends for help”, he continues.

Despite these challenges, Pita persevered and graduated with his undergraduate degree in 2007 and Masters in 2013. 

“For me, the greatest achievement that I must cherish as a student was sitting right in the front row of the graduation ceremony and receiving my degree”, Pita said.

According to Pita, he chose to study Diplomacy and International Affairs because Fiji lacked capacity to make ministerial and diplomatic representations.

“There is a need to understand our foreign policies and to see what our state’s paramount interest would be in terms of trade and in terms of investment opportunity and also ratify convention in international community and how adequate we are to negotiate issues to our best interest,” he said. 

Pita’s story is one of triumph, coming out victorious despite the odds. Pita looks forward to starting work on his PhD once he completes his second Master’s degree. 

Fortunately for Pita and other students with disability, The University of the South Pacific Disability Resource Centre (DRC) became operational in March 2013. DRC works collaboratively with the faculties, sections and departments at the University as well as external stakeholders to ensure that both students and staff with special needs fulfill their potential in an inclusive environment.

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