Nine Australian-sponsored students attain awards at USP
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Mr Jaindra Karan, EDSPAC at USP (standing 4th from right) and Ms Christina Munzer, DFAT’s Counsellor Development Cooperation for Fiji & Tuvalu (adjacent to Mr Karan), with the award winners.
Nine (9) Australia Awards Pacific Scholarship (AAPS) students from The University of the South Pacific (USP) scooped special awards for their outstanding achievement during an end-of-semester awards lunch on 25 October 2018 at USP’s Laucala campus in Suva.
The students are from USP’s Member Countries and varying disciplines including Bachelor of Software/Net Centric Computing, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science and Master's programmes.
Special awards were given to Jomer Manongsong of the Federated States of Micronesia; Patrina Leong of Solomon Islands; Teri Elbon of the Republic of Marshall Islands; Jimmy Telstar of Vanuatu; Kalolaini Tatafu of Tonga; and Teereta Roota, Atanrerei Kabiriera and Sonia Monica Schutz Russel of Kiribati.
Ms Christina Munzer, DFAT’s Counsellor, Development Cooperation for Fiji and Tuvalu, congratulated the award winners and the cohort saying, “it is fantastic that you have been able to make it this far and are on the verge of graduating”.
“On behalf of the Australian Government I wish to congratulate you on the successful completion of your academic year at USP. It is also an auspicious occasion with its 50th anniversary year and the Royal visit,” she mentioned.
AAPS students who attended the end-of-awards lunch at the Laucala Campus.
She said, “this occasion is to celebrate your achievement of hard work, sacrifice, discipline and perseverance and your presence here today is a testimony that the Australian Government, and in partnership with your home country selected the best candidates”.
She said she was impressed to learn that two of the awardees had recently published educational resources that will be used in their countries upon return.
“This is indeed a great testimony of the impact you are already making in your country’s development, so, well done!”
To the high achievers, she said they had done themselves and their countries proud in their academic achievement.
“Being awarded prizes for academic excellence is no easy feat, you persisted on this journey to excel against all odds and we implore you to set that standard upon your return home,” she said.
The Australian Government she said, recognises that education is an important catalyst for sustainable development as it contributes to the long term objectives of promoting growth and stability as well as strengthening the region.
“With the newly-acquired skills and knowledge you have attained, we challenge you to play an active role in responding to the significant long-term challenges that are being faced here in the Pacific, which can include anything from responding to natural disasters, sustaining economic growth as well as boosting education, skills development and jobs for a growing operation,” she noted.
The Australian Government, she added, is committed to supporting the AAPS programme as it continues to build capacity in key areas that have a shared interest to Australia and the Pacific.
“We ask that you participate in decisions underpinned by values of honesty and kindness and we also expect you to build your professional and personal network because through this, you are able to reach out and actively participate in any reforms that matter to your country and the Pacific,” she highlighted.
She also urged the students to register for the Australia Global Alumni network saying that through them, Australia can strengthen their regional ties, influence and grow her trade and investment in business across the region and globally.
“We hope you will put into practice what you have learnt that can better equip you to become leaders in your areas of expertise as well as agents of change in your communities,” she said.
She further acknowledged USP for playing an instrumental role leading up to the students’ achievement.
Mr Jaindra Karan, Executive Director Strategic Partnerships, Advancement & Communications (SPAC) said this was indeed a great achievement adding that without the support of the Australian Government through the AAPS programme, this would not have been possible.
“I am pleased to note that a total of forty-three (43) students are completing their studies soon from the 178 students this year,” he said.
The students were advised that there is no end to education and were encouraged to return to USP to continue with their postgraduate studies.
Mr Karan commended the increase in the number of students already taking postgraduate courses, saying it was heartening to note their quest to learn and contribute to the development of their respective countries.
“You are very fortunate to be at USP because not only are we a regional university that promotes regionalism but our programmes are internationally accredited, meaning that your qualification counts in Australia and New Zealand, and now in the United States with the recent Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation,” he stated.
“In our new Strategic Plan, USP plans to roll out more accreditations next year,” he confirmed.
Mr Karan said graduating in the University’s 50th year anniversary made their achievement even more special.
Commenting on the visit by Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the Laucala Campus, Mr Karan said the visit was historic and momentous since USP was established by the Royal Charter which was delivered by the current Queen in 1970.
He also mentioned that USP was culturally diverse and fostered a sense of Pacific consciousness among all the students.
Mr Karan further acknowledged DFAT for their support and the Regional Scholarship Team (RST) for enabling a comfortable stay for the students.
A total of forty-three (43) students will be graduating at the end of the year.
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