The University of the South Pacific (USP), established in 1968 in the Laucala Bay area of Suva, Fiji opened its doors to students from the Pacific Islands, providing them an opportunity to pursue post-secondary education within the region. This was a remarkable accomplishment during the last days of colonialism.
USP’s foundation was perceived as an important step towards the autonomy of the Pacific nations, and its growth in size and sophistication since has, in many ways, mirrored that of its Member Countries. Certain factors gave rise to support for the development of the University. Firstly, several Pacific Island countries were moving towards independence and they needed to train people to assume positions of responsibility; secondly, mid 1960s was a period of tertiary-level educational expansion and thirdly, the healthy economic climate through the early 1970’s made such expansion possible for Small Island States wiithin those countries’ spheres of influence.
After five decades, USP is a source of immense pride for the region which has nurtured its development from simply being an autonomous university in the region to its current status as a world-class tertiary provide, research institution, and development organisation designed to meet the needs and address the priorities of its Member Countries in an affordable, future-oriented manner that values and celebrates Pacific history, cultures and the natural environment.
USP’s strategic goal is to be a leader in tertiary education and research and assist towards the sustainable development of the Pacific region. In its Strategic Plan, Shaping Pacific Futures, USP addresses the major challenges facing the region and provides assurance to its stakeholders that using innovative and sustainable approaches, the University will assist the region to achieve measurable progress in the future. The main regional issues that influence this decision is the need for greater regional cooperation to address climate change, youth populations facing poor economic prospects and poor educational outcomes, the need for regional ICT cooperation and digitalisation and the importance of preserving and promoting Pacific cultures and heritage. The University hopes to support healthy growth and sustainability throughout the institution and the region, at all levels and in all communities.