The Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Professor Pal Ahluwalia has re-affirmed his commitment to the citizens of Samoa, stating that development at the Samoa Campus would leave no one behind.
Professor Ahluwalia made the comment when he spoke at a signing ceremony formalising USD 185,862 in funding (SAT $493,000) from the Government of Japan, earmarked for upgrades at the University’s Savai’i Centre.
He thanked the Government of Japan and Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture for their support and welcomed them to Samoa Campus.
“There is a lot of interest for people to study journalism and there are all kinds of things, and we want to make sure that the citizens of Samoa are not left behind so once again I want to thank both the Ambassador and the Government of Japan but also thank the Minister of Education for your support,” the Vice Chancellor said.
“Without both of you, we could not do what we are going to do in Savai’i. I also want to add that some changes have already started, particularly in Savai’i. We now have better internet connectivity than we have ever had. I was there along with my colleagues yesterday in Savai’i and it was wonderful to see that students could seamlessly study from there because we have done a big change to the way we provide our students with that connectivity.”
The Savai’i Centre, built by the Government of Japan in the 1980s, is owned by the Government of Samoa. Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Seuula Ioane Tuuau signed the contract on behalf of the Government of Samoa.
The project is funded by the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) administered by the Government of Japan. Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Samoa, His Excellency Mr Keisuke Senta signed over the grant on behalf of the Japanese Government.
“Thank you for hosting this very important occasion today, it is such a great opportunity to be here and for a change of fresh air. Today, on behalf of the Government of Japan, I am pleased to sign over a grant of up to 185,862 US Dollars to The University of the South Pacific – Samoa Campus. This grant will assist to renovate the existing building and toilet block of USP Savai’i Centre, as well as its roofing, ceiling, walling, flooring, door, electricity and plumbing systems,” the Ambassador said.
“The grant will also enable the University to construct a new ramp, a walkway between the Centre and outside of the toilet block and install a security fence around the property to provide a safe proper educational environment and improve the quality of higher education service for USP Savai’i Centre students.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Independent State of Samoa.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Independent State of Samoa. The Government of Japan continues to assist and commit to improving its relations with the Government of the Independent State of Samoa through its GGP scheme. Congratulations and all the best with the next phase of the project,” Ambassador Senta said.
On behalf of the people and Government of Samoa, the Education Minister expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Ambassador Senta.
“Our mutual partnership in advancing education in Samoa continues to leave imprints that will go down in history as one of the strongest ties, and the signing of this contract speaks volumes in itself,” Minister Seuula said.
“I also wish to commend my colleague, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, the Vice Chancellor of USP for putting forth a much-needed proposal which prompted us to activate the promise to elevate educational support and resources for our Savai’i residents. I pray that work will commence without any further delays, and I sincerely hope that we will all be able to shake hands together to toast after this project.”
The signing ceremony was held on 7 March 2023 at the Library Conference Room at the Samoa Campus in Alafua.