Her Royal Highness Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex reiterated the importance of education while talking to USP students this morning. Source: DINFO
Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want but more importantly the education that they have the right to receive, said Her Royal Highness Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in Suva on 24 October 2018.
Speaking to staff and students at a packed auditorium, HRH mentioned that for women and girls in developing countries, education is vital.
“Providing them with access to education is the key to economic and social development because when girls are given the right tools to succeed they can create incredible futures not only for themselves but for all of those around them,” she stated.
HRH said that while progress has been made in many areas in the Commonwealth, there is always scope to offer more opportunities to the next generation of young adults and specifically to young women.
Sharing her experience as a university graduate, HRH said she knew the personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university, “from the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the exams you spend countless nights studying for”.
“The lifelong friendships you make with fellow alumni to the moment you receive your diploma. The journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful and pivotal one,” she added.
She said she was fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world including her.
“It was through scholarships, financial aid programmes, work study and my earnings for a job on campus that went directly to my tuition that I was able to attend university and without question it was worth every effort,” she shared.
She explained that the Association of Commonwealth Universities which Her Majesty the Queen is patron of supports universities to promote equality in their own institutions.
HRH also announced two new grants that will be awarded to USP and the Fiji National University allowing each of them to run workshops which empower their female staff.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, presents gift on behalf of USP to the Royal couple.
This she said means that female faculty members are able to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and enter higher education and that more women become part of the decision-making process in academic institutions.
“Grants like these ensure that women are provided with the training and skills to operate effectively in their roles and that those with leadership potential are given the opportunity to be heard and recognised at the most senior level,” she said.
“It is wonderful to join you here today and we look forward to learning more about your academic endeavours and the work you plan to do as future leaders and as change makers. Your efforts now will help to make a positive future for each of you and the community at large,” she added.
Furthermore, HRH wished the students and staff good luck in their studies and work.
In closing, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP said the staff and students were deeply honoured and humbled by the visit of their Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the University.
“This visit is historic as this is our 50th year anniversary and I thank you sincerely and hope you will visit us again in future,” Professor Chandra said.
He acknowledged USP, H.E Melanie Hopkins, the British High Commissioner to Fiji, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their respective teams for their leadership and guidance for all preparation carried out to make the event a success.
“I hope that you have enjoyed the cultural performance by our very talented and world renowned dancers of the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies,” he said.
“Thank you for the colourful and lively performance on uniting against climate change. Regardless of who we are and where we live we are all affected by climate change,” he noted.
He added that it was certainly an exceptional privilege to host the royals, making their visit the highlight of USP’s golden jubilee celebrations.
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