Mālō le folau, U.S.P!

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Here’s a fact. Not many tertiary institutions can lay claim to the title of ‘regional and international university’ at the same time. 

But at the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) at all its campuses across the region, this is truly the case. 

Set up in 1968 to serve its member countries’ tertiary education needs – including Samoa – U.S.P. has gone beyond that to also service the educational needs of people from all walks of life, across the globe. 

It holds a proud record as one of only two regional universities in the world. 

As the University immerses itself in congratulatory mode this week in celebrating its 50th year anniversary, we at the Samoa Observer join many others in congratulating the U.S.P. in reaching this milestone. 

We want to say congratulations and well done in providing premier tertiary education and qualifications to our Pacific people and others from around the world.

Reaching half a century is by no means a small feat, so this is certainly a cause for celebration.

U.S.P can indeed be proud of the fact that it has produced some of this country’s and region’s prominent leaders in government, private sector, civil society, education, health and every major aspect of our local and regional communities. 

Some current and past regional leaders were taught at U.S.P. 

You also just have to look at many of the leaders in this country, especially in government, to find the many U.S.P. graduates who are either running or contributing in a significant way to their places of work. The list is impressive. 

In yesterday’s Samoa Observer, it was revealed that some Samoans who hold high profile positions and were educated in U.S.P. includes Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, C.E.O. Development Bank of Samoa Susana Laulu, C.E.O. Ministry of Public Enterprises Elita To’oala, C.E.O. of Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Agafili Shem Leo, C.E.O. Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture C.E.O. Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Fuata’i, Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration C.E.O. Papali’i John Taimalelagi and the  C.E.O. Ministry of Health Leausa Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri.

Then there is the Governor of Central Bank Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari, C.E.O. for Ministry of Works, Transportation and Infrastructure Su’a Pou Onesemo, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries C.E.O. Tilafono David Hunter, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment C.E.O. Ulu Bismarck Crawley, Office of the Electoral Commission C.E.O. Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa C.E.O. Dr. Seuseu Tauati, Samoa Bureau of Statistics C.E.O. Ali’imuamua Malaefono Ta’aloga, National Kidney Foundation of Samoa C.E.O. Mulipola Roger Hazelman, Ministry of Revenue C.E.O. Avalisa Viali Fautuaalii and Pro Chancellor of N.U.S. A’eau Chris Hazelman.

There are many, many more and we simply cannot name them all here.

But the above list should give us an idea about the impact of the university not just on the development of Samoa but more importantly the region and the world. 

Many more students continue to enter the university and will no doubt follow their footsteps.

Keep in mind that U.S.P. was one of the first symbols of regionalism, long before the term was popularised. 

Five decades later, it now stands as a shining example of what can be achieved if the region works together. 

It now boasts various campuses throughout its 12 member countries. It has also graduated thousands who now contribute meaningfully to their countries’ developments. 

It is no accident that a university that dedicates itself to the education of the people of the region it serves, has the majority of its graduates now working and giving back to their island communities in many spheres of society. 

Malo le folau U.S.P!

May you continue to navigate into the future with wisdom, courage and boldness while remaining true to the vision of the region’s leaders that led to the creation of the university. 

And that is, to provide the best tertiary education possible for the people that it serves. 

In these volatile times, the university certainly needs to continue to remain dynamic and relevant in order for it to keep on responding to the educational needs of the people it serves.

Congratulations! In the meantime, have a wonderful Friday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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