The University of the South Pacific (USP) Emalus Campus in Vanuatu hosted the Danish Crown Princess Mary and her delegation for an enlightening discussion with students and staff on various topics relevant to Denmark and the Pacific on Monday, April 24, 2023.
The visit aims to further Denmark’s engagement in the global climate agenda and learn from Vanuatu the challenges it faces regarding climate security and other climate-related challenges.
USP Emalus Campus Director Ruben Markward said, “This is a historic visit as it is the first time for Her Highness the Danish Princess to visit our USP Emalus campus. We are grateful for this opportunity to dialogue with the crown Princess and her delegation on issues central to the Pacific, like climate change.”
“We hope the engagement today will be a start of what can be developed into a partnership between USP and Denmark and how we can work together to address shared challenges,” Mr Markward said.
Delivering a brief presentation during the visit, Dr Justin Rose, whom was the Adjunct Associate Professor of Law and coordinator of the 2019 class that originated the campaign resulting in the United Nation’s General Assembly adopting by consensus a resolution requesting the International Court of Justice provide an opinion in respect of climate change said, “This story is about the achievements of USP’s students and former students. They are the heroes – who never doubted its eventual success and who persevered until the end through many challenges and setbacks.”
“Educating young Pacific Islanders about climate change and international climate change law is an honour and personally challenging. The scientific facts that must be taught present an increasingly grim picture of Pacific Island futures. In law and action, the international community’s response is inadequate,” Dr Rose added.
Dr Rose was among six representatives from USP to actively participate in the engagement with the Crown Princess.
In her address to staff and students, her Royal Highness Princess Mary Elizabeth emphasised the need for global collaboration in the fight against climate change.
“It is a great pleasure to visit Vanuatu and experience its unique beauty. I can understand that the extreme weather has also affected your teaching here at the University, and our visit posed a little of an extra challenge; therefore, I want to extend a special thank you to the University,” HRH Princess Mary said.
HRH Princess Mary also commended, “The law students from the University played a leading role in ensuring the adoption of a resolution related to climate change in the recent United Nations General Assembly. What a remarkable achievement. It is something you should be incredibly proud of, and being a law graduate myself, I am incredibly proud of you from that perspective.”
She added that such initiative “illustrates how your voice can influence those in power to make a change. As students, you are in a unique position to develop innovative ideas and design potential green solutions, whether it’s through research, education, design or entrepreneurship.”
Danish Ambassador, Pernille Dahler Kardel, said they highly “Recognise the significant role the students at USP in Vanuatu played in preparing for the resolution just adopted by consensus at the UN regarding a request for a legal opinion for the International Court of Justice on climate change and the focus for our delegation on climate change.”
The visit to the Emalus Campus was a success following a thorough and informative discussion with students and staff.
After the Emalus Campus visit on Monday, the Crown Princess will join our students at the USP Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, today to have similar discussions and engagement.