The University of the South Pacific (USP) Laucala Campus welcomed its Chancellor, the Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa, his Highness Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, for a tour of the institute yesterday.
The USP Chancellor, accompanied by Samoa’s High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Pro-Chancellor & Chair of Council Dr Hilda Heine, USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (DVC&VP) (Regional Campuses & Global Engagement) Dr Giulio Paunga, DVC & VP Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai, Chief Operating Officer, Mr Walter Fraser, Private Secretary to the Head of State Mr Ulugia Mareko Tulouna, and Secretary to Council & Manager CSS Mr Totivi Bokini-Ratu.
The half-day tour started with a Head of State meeting at the Laucala Administration building, followed by a quick visit to the USP Marine (Lower) Campus, where the delegates had the chance to see firsthand the laboratory used by students to conduct research.
During his tour of the marine science laboratory, the Chancellor said, “I am happy that our students have a laboratory such as this to do their work that is related to the Pacific.”
Towards the end of the Marine Campus tour, the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, and the delegates were briefed about the Pacific Ocean Litter Youth Project (POLYP) by co-founder Ms Suzanne Turaganiwai from the Institute of Applied Science.
Ms Turaganiwai explained that the POLYP initiative focused on collecting plastic waste from the shorelines and repurposing it through art and other means.
The Chancellor, his Highness Sualauvi II acknowledged the POLYP initiative, adding that “such work not only contributes positively to promoting a greener environment but also allows USP to be actively involved in promoting a greener future.”
At the Statham campus, the Chancellor had a chance to discuss with the Head of the School of Business and Management (SBM), Professor Gurmeet Singh and his staff.
The meeting was centred around the progress of SBM over the years, producing successful MBA graduates that have become leaders in various organisations in Fiji and the Pacific.
In his brief to the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Singh said that USP’s business and economics programmes are recognised in the Times Higher Education, a significant achievement for a regional university.
“USP’s Business and Economics programmes are in the 400 to 600 category, which is very impressive,” Professor Singh said.
The team also had an opportunity to have a quick discussion with the School of Law staff about USP’s thriving law programme and its importance in the region.
Speaking to law students this morning, Chancellor Sualauvi II is on his journey from being a police officer to a lawyer.
“I was a policeman previously before I pursued my law degree. After I received my law degree, I was attached to the Police department and later transferred to the Attorney General’s office,” the Chancellor said.
“Our government then decided to establish a public defender’s office, and I was the first to join with my background in criminal law. If you want to do the right thing, you must follow the law as your clients choose you,” Chancellor Sualauvi II added.
Chancellor Sualauvi II said he is excited for the law students who will graduate this week at the USP Laucala graduation ceremony.
After the tour of the entire USP campus around Laucala in Suva, the Chancellor and his delegates met with the USPSA Federal team before a final photo opportunity. The visiting team then had a tea break at the Pacific Fusion Restaurant.
Served by the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) students, the delegates were praised for the excellent service and hospitality on display.
USP VC Professor Ahluwalia said, “if I were to give you a mark based on the service and hospitality shown to us today, you’d all get good marks.”
The Chancellor and his entourage then visited the Vodafone Arena before retiring for the day to prepare for the graduation Thursday and Friday.