Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Welcome Remarks by Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson on Visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the 24 October 2018, Japan ICT Centre, Laucala Campus

  • His and Her Royal Highness, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex;
  • Her Excellency, Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner;
  • Professor Rajesh Chandra. Vice Chancellor and President of USP;
  • Dignitaries;
  • Staff and, most importantly, students of the University both here and in our regional campuses viewing on live-stream.

A very good morning to you all and a warm Pacific welcome to this unique and momentous occasion.

On behalf of The University of the South Pacific, or USP as we are more fondly known, I am privileged and honoured to welcome Your Royal Highnesses to our Laucala Campus, especially as this is our 50th Anniversary year. There could not have been a better birthday gift for the University than your visit.

The British Monarchy is very special to USP as this University was established by a Royal Charter which was personally presented by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, during a ceremony at this Campus in 1970 and we are so delighted to be continuing the relationship with the Royal Family by hosting Your Royal Highnesses here today. From its founding, Britain has been a major supporter. USP has enjoyed strong continuing support from the British Government including in recent times;
- USP and the British High Commission jointly signing a bilateral programme on capacity building for International Maritime Organisation (IMO) negotiations. The British Government provided funding of almost $28,000 to USP and the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islandís joint initiative - the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport. This funding was for technical support to the Pacific Islands, IMO delegations that will assist with preparations for the next round of IMO negotiations on combatting climate change.
- The British Government also funded a Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme which has encouraged closer collaboration between USP and the UKís National Oceanographic Centre.

USP is the premier tertiary education provider in the Pacific region. Our regional character is reflective of our twelve Member Countries and students from across the Pacific make USP a dynamic centre of learning, teaching, research and innovation. Our students go on to be national leaders, captains of industry and influential cultural advocates who shape public policy and guide Pacific Countries as they address challenges such as Climate Change. Using traditional knowledge in combination with modern science they create new technologies and approaches that meet the needs of contemporary Pacific nations. I am sure you will get to see some examples of this research and innovation during your short interaction with students and youth leaders later.

The University community extends its warmest welcome and wishes Your Royal Highnesses the very best for the remainder of your visit to the Pacific region. I hope you will take with you, fond memories of your visit to USP and Fiji.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

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