I’ve done a lot of volunteer work at the University of South Pacific (USP) over the past several years particularly with the Media Center Archives. I’m proud to announce that the school has a series of events earmarked for the year to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
The university was set up in 1968 and is owned by the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. It is one of only two regionally owned universities in the world.
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, said: “We must acknowledge and celebrate the vision of our leaders, who began this journey half a century ago, to provide our peoples with higher learning on our shores; cultivating a common sense of identity based on our shared history and geography, and recognizing that we would achieve more together than individually.” She said the USP remained a flourishing symbol of the Pacific’s determination to do and think for itself. Dame Meg said the institution had made a vital contribution, producing generations of leaders academics and public servants.
Today, celebrations were launched with an opening of a time capsule containing important documents and letters from the university students and management in 1997. Other events planned out for the year include memorials, travelling exhibitions, seminar series, library focus weeks, open days, quiz nights, and conferences and dinners.
President of Fiji Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote today launched the University of the South Pacific’s 50th anniversary and opened the 1997 time capsule at the Laucala Campus in Suva. He highlighted the anniversary marked the legacy of leadership that USP maintained throughout the years. Meanwhile, USP vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said the 50th anniversary was a milestone for the university and it was looking to perform better and deliver more to the region in the future.
Emeritus geography professor, Randy Thaman, has taught there since 1974. He said the USP had been very successful in providing education to the region, and part of the reason for that is it brings together students from the 12 member countries. “You almost have a USP Mafia. I say that in a good way although sometimes it can be bad, that have these relationships built up over 40 years or so. For example in the time I have been here I have probably taught five or six PMs and presidents of countries and they all have relationships with each other.”