The University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have extended their collaboration after signing another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the University’s Laucala Campus on 23 August 2018.
The two (2) regional organisations had previously signed a MOU in 2011. This MOU is an upgrade of the preceding MOU, and will serve as a general framework for cooperation between the two (2) organisations and is intended to facilitate discussions of more specific programmes of collaboration.
It will facilitate collaboration between SPC and USP in developing quality education and vocational training and improving development in the Pacific, climate resilience, governance and leadership.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President welcomed the MOU on a positive note and talked about the strengths that each organisation possesses in their own areas of service.
Professor Chandra stated that USP is the region’s premier higher education institution and serves twelve (12) Pacific Island Countries (PICs) while SPC is also a regional technical organisation with twenty-six (26) members and includes the territories, undertaking work in areas such as health, fisheries, environment, energy, trade and transport, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), food security, climate change as well as recently acquired areas such as applied geosciences and educational assessment.
He acknowledged that both SPC and USP are part of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and collectively work towards the implementation of regional initiatives.
He added that beyond being a University that teaches and researches, USP is also working closely within the CROP agencies within the Framework for Pacific Regionalism to take leadership role in areas like education and ICT.
“Very importantly, we are working with the Director-General and all other CROP heads, with the leadership of the Secretary General so that we have a harmonious approach on how all of us can help in the delivery of what the leaders want,” he said.
Professor Chandra further spoke on some areas in which USP and SPC are already working on together, which include climate change, research, renewable energy and the recent European Union Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training (EU PacTVET) projects.
He noted that this year the University is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and the signing of the MOU is more special and hoped that both organisations will look at the MOU as a starting point of more intensive engagement in future.
Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General of SPC shared his experience with the University as being one of the first students, and acknowledged that USP has had an important place in his life in training and learning.
Dr Tukuitonga recognised the significance of the two (2) organisations in the region, both involved in training but in different areas of knowledge creation, and stated that the MOU is a good start towards future collaborations.
Given the shared areas and the respective capabilities and expertise in the institutions, he said that the MOU is a signal to a more detailed strategic partnership.
Dr Tukuitonga noted that as resources decrease and as more players come into the region, institutions like USP and SPC have this solid relationship, where both can learn and use expertise from their own institutions.
He congratulated the University on its 50th Anniversary, adding that “there is no doubt that USP has produced some of the leaders and most notable people of the region, and I am sure you will continue to do that.”
The MOU signing was followed by a lecture by Dr Tukuitonga on “the ‘hidden’ health danger of climate change”
This is a joint release which had also been posted on the USP website.