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126 students graduate from USP Tuvalu Campus

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USP Tuvalu's school-based programme students with Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & International (standing, centre) and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor Designate (standing, 4th from right).

A total of one hundred and twenty-six (126) students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tuvalu Campus on 21 November 2018, the highest number in the history of the Campus.

In attendance were Her Excellency Mrs Teniku Talesi, the Acting Governor General and Mr Talesi Honolulu; Mr Enele Sosene Sopoaga, The Right Honourable Prime Minister and Mrs Salilo Sopoaga, Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Council; Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament; Excellencies; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Council and Senate members; Vice-Chancellor and President Designate Professor Pal Ahluwalia; Dr Rosiana Lagi, Director, USP Tuvalu Campus; Members of the Campus Advisory Committee; Graduands, their families and friends and staff and students of USP.

Of the 126 graduates, Professor Derrick Armstrong Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & International noted that 54 per cent were females.

In his address, Professor Armstrong congratulated the graduates, “it was a very special day as we come together to award graduands of USP their Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees”.

He added that The University, plays a proud role in the region in providing education to students from our 12 member countries and supporting our member countries in building capacity in the form of future leaders, innovators and citizens of this region.

Professor Armstrong noted that never before have the challenges that face Pacific Island countries been so great.

Ms Peau Taasi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Law and HRM receives her award from Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council.

“In a world where we are at the front line in facing the existential threats of climate change, where leadership in public service, business and in the community demands new skills, authoritative and evidence-based solutions, as well as new ideas that demonstrate innovation whilst also connecting our vision, our actions and our contributions to the cultures and traditions that keep us grounded in our identities as the peoples of this sea of islands, the Pacific Ocean,” he said.

He stated that The University is grateful for the support it receives from governments and people of the region and is proud of the graduates that have studied so hard and successfully that they might rise to the challenges that lies before them.

Speaking to the graduands, he offered his warmest congratulations saying they had reached a major milestone and that their graduate experience and qualifications will help increase their chance of lifelong success anywhere in the world.

“Today, as you celebrate your hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, remember to thank those who have supported you in your journey, your parents & families, sponsors, lecturers and tutors without whose support you would not have reached this far,” he said.

Speaking on the University’s significant achievements, he noted that USP continues its quest to improve its quality and reputation, “and we have a duty to ensure that you have the very best education that is possible, an education that has currency anywhere in the world but one that is rooted in the culture and needs of the Pacific”.

USP’s international standing is demonstrated by the 27 international accreditations and 15 international recognitions that the University has now achieved for its programmes. 

"One very significant validation of the quality of our University, its systems, processes, programmes and outcomes has been the recent accreditation of the University by the WASC Senior Commission on Universities and Colleges," he noted.

This he said, means that USP is now amongst those American institutions that have been rigorously assessed as meeting stringent American standards.

He noted that the accreditation of USP’s programmes emphasises the quality of the education that USP is providing across all its campuses saying it is a great credit to staff who teach on these programmes and who work so hard to provide a relevant and stimulating education for our students.

“It is also a great credit to the students themselves. It shows how our students are achieving quality outcomes from their studies that are internationally recognised. So, I congratulate all of you graduating today for your contribution to the success of the University,” he said.

On the achievements of the Tuvalu Campus, Professor Armstrong noted that it had achieved some remarkable outcomes and is without doubt a flagship for the University.

Graduating students of USP's Tuvalu Campus ready to receive their awards.

One of the achievements he highlighted, included the first MBA Programme Cohort with 17 students fully sponsored by the Tuvalu Government beginning in October, 2017, 14 of whom graduating with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration today. 

“With support from the government, we are looking at our first cohort of Doctorate in Business Administration who should be graduating in 5 years, 2024,” he said.

He also mentioned the USP Net WiFi and 2 Smart Classrooms which were launched in April 2018, bringing lecturers from Laucala and regional campuses to the Tuvalu Campus.

In addition, the first Certificate in Project Management Cohort began early this year with 25 students fully sponsored by the Tuvalu Government, all of who also graduated. 

“As well, to cater for the increasing number of students, the Tuvalu Government gifted the Tuvalu Campus with a new Campus site behind the former aircraft hangar facility, the University in conjunction with the Campus Advisory Committee finalised a Concept Design and Cost Plan. 

“It is hoped that USP and the Government of Tuvalu may explore all options for funding of the new facility, including approaching its Bilateral and development partners for financial assistance,” he noted.   

Professor Armstrong acknowledged the Tuvalu Government for their continuous support, with the vision to invest in the future of the country through, its investment in education and in particular the education of its young people.

“USP is very proud to be a partner of the Tuvalu government and people in helping to deliver this vision both through our work in education,” he added. 

He also commended Dr Lagi and her team, the University Secretariat and the Student Administrative Services who work so hard in supporting our students and in ensuring the success of the graduations that mark such an important moment in the lives of our students, their families and friends.

“Their work leading to this graduation and in supporting such wonderful students throughout their education has shown just what a jewel in the crown the regional campuses are to USP. Nowhere is this better illustrated than here in Tuvalu,” he added.

Ms Peau Taasi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Law and HRM acknowledged God for bringing them through, and enabling them to complete their “studies and receive certificates and degrees in front of our families in our very own fenua”.

“Also, we acknowledge our families – spouses and children for their support during all our years of studies and all those times we have to run off to the campus to attend satellite tutorials or submit late assignments and unintentionally forget birthdays, weddings and community functions and sometimes.

“To our parents we say fakafetai lasi for believing in us and sacrificing your time and resources to ensure we get a qualification though it took some of us more than 4 years to complete our studies,” said Taasi, a wife and mother of five children.

“Thank you to USP Tuvalu Campus – for bringing education right to our door step and into our homes, allowing us to get a world class education to be qualified to work anywhere in the world because of your excellent delivery of accredited programs and courses,” she noted.

Ms Taasi also thanked   Dr Lagi and her team for all their support and hard work which saw them through.

The Right Honorable Bikenibeu Paeniu, former PM and Alumni noted that this was the best graduation he had witnessed since attending the ceremony..

Mr Michael Riach, Lead Education Adviser, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said there was a lot of dignity in the ceremony and congratulated the graduates for a job well done.

Mrs. Pula Maatia, Director for Tuvalu Women Council mentioned that the graduation was a beautiful and very emotional ceremony.

This news item was published on 27 Nov 2018 02:00:16 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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