Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific His Majesty King Tupou VI (Sixth) was on hand to confer the certificates, diplomas and degrees at the ceremony in Alafua.
He was accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau'u.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mr. Ikbal Jannif presided over the ceremony. Also in attendance were the Samoa Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Hon. Mauiliu Magele Mauiliu, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration and former Pro Chancellor of USP, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Permanent Secretaries/ CEOs of Government Ministries, Co-Chairs of the Alafua Campus
Advisory Committee; Acting Dean Faculty of Business and Economics
, Dr Kesaia Seniloli; Secretary to Council Mrs Lily Vesikula, Acting Alafua Campus
Director, Mrs. Ruby Va'a, Acting Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Technology
and Director of IRETA, Mr Mohammed Umar.
While delivering his address, USP Vice-Chancellor
and President Professor Rajesh Chandra said Samoa plays an important regional role in educating students from fellow Pacific countries, especially in the field of Agriculture.
Professor Chandra said more than half (54%) of those who graduated are women, an indication of growing gender equality in the Pacific while. 30% are graduating with PG qualifications, including 8 MBAs and 4 Masters.
To the graduates, Professor Chandra said they had achieved their dreams and are about to embark on their careers with the knowledge and skills acquired at University.
“The road you have travelled in the past few years has not been easy, but with hard work, sacrifice, determination and commitment you have achieved your dreams—and those of your parents and families, he said.
“This has been made possible through the support of many others—your parents, families, community, sponsors and Government—for which you should be grateful,” he said.
He said although the University had prepared them well, the world is changing rapidly and the requirements of work are changing with that.
“To be successful, you will need to continue to learn throughout life, so life-long learning and using that to enhance your work and success should be your guiding principle,” Professor Chandra said.
The audience at the graduation ceremony at Alafua campus. Sitted in front is Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau'u
On the achievements of USP, Professor Chandra said we have ended 2013, the first year of the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan on a very positive and high note.
He mentioned that some of the outcomes included student enrolment numbers exceeded our SP target not only for 2013 but for next year; development assistance is the highest in USPs’ history; and the establishment of a Pacific Islands University Research Network (PIRUN), among others.
Professor Chandra said overall the University continues to make excellent progress, and its quality in particular continues to improve.
The Strategic Plan’s most important focus is the transformation of USP for excellence, he said.
“So international accreditations of our programmes and continuous improvement of our learning, teaching, research and community engagement will remain our major priorities,” he said.
“The degrees that our graduates get are as good as those given by universities in Australia, New Zealand and internationally, but our degrees are better because we make them more relevant for our region and our graduates generally stay in the region,” he added.
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