Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Vote of Thanks by Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP at the official opening of the USP 50th Anniversary Research Week

  • Honourable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and members his delegation;
  • Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat;
  • Pro Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Mr. Winston Thompson;
  • Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
  • Heads and Representatives of Regional and International Organisations;
  • Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
  • Members of the Private Sector, NGOs and Media organisations;
  • Senior Management, staff and students of the University;
  • Researchers and innovators;
  • Friends of USP and friends of the Pacific;
  • Ladies and gentlemen.

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Talofa Lava and a very good afternoon to everyone.

I wish to humbly thank you, Honourable Prime Minister and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, for your kind words of encouragement, and for officially declaring our 50th Anniversary USP Research Week open. We are humbled and truly privileged to have you do this. I am sure that your inspirational advice will greatly motivate the bright minds of the future researchers and innovators of the region and help USP shape its next stage of development.

Your profound confidence in USP and in our programmes can be seen through your Government’s active engagement in various programmes such as the Science Teachers Accelerated Programme (STAP) that was pioneered in 2014 at USP’s Alafua Campus as a joint initiative between the Government of Samoa and USP with a cohort of sixty (60) teachers sponsored by the Samoan Government. The University’s Alafua Campus is one of the largest campuses of the University and I thank you for your continuous support for USP. Honourable Prime Minister Sir, I wish to also thank you for opening our 50th Anniversary Samoa’s moment to shine week of celebrations recently that the Pro Chancellor and I were privileged to witness and participate in.

Honourable Prime Minister, Sir, as I retire from USP at the end of this year after serving USP for almost 40 years, I wish to take this public opportunity to thank you and your Government for your support, wise counsel and co-operation and for all the courtesies extended to me during my term as the Vice-Chancellor and President. I wish you and your Government continued success.

The University has indeed come of age, from its humble beginning 50 years ago with less than 200 students as mainly a teaching-oriented institution to what is now a fully-fledged international university with over 30,000 students, very good national, regional and international reputation, and a strong research and innovation culture geared to addressing the issues that are of importance to the region and to the wider world.

I wish to assure you, Prime Minister Sir, that through our new draft Strategic Plan 2019-2024—which we were privileged to present to you and your cabinet on 9th of this month—we are committed to further enhancing our research profile and impact and ensuring that our research and innovation are aligned to the needs of our member countries, and to the SDGs that you have championed so strongly.

Moreover, we will be strengthening our academic programmes to ensure that our students graduate with the right set of skills to undertake research and innovation to address the major challenges facing the Pacific region.

I would also like to thank Her Excellency Dame Meg Taylor and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for the continued support, cooperation and engagement with USP through the CROP mechanism to address the Pacific region’s development priorities and goals.

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Pro Chancellor for his welcome remarks and highlighting some of the outstanding research and innovation activities USP is currently undertaking.

I would also like to thank all participants of the Research Week and the audience who have attended the opening today for your valuable time and input in ensuring the success of this event.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International, Professor Derrick Armstrong and his team, in particular the Director Research Professor Jito Vanualailai for organizing the Research Week. I also thank Mr. Jaindra Karan, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships, Advancement and Communications Office and his staff for their efforts towards the preparation of this event.

Finally, I wish the participants, presenters, researchers and innovators the very best for the weeklong symposium this week as they deliberate on the impact of USP’s research over the years and find ways of refining our research and innovation in the region for even greater benefits to our member countries.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Fa’afetai Lava and Thank you.

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