Sefuiva Moeumu Uili named Fulbright Scholar

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 13 March 2021, 1:00PM

Sefuiva Moeumu Uili of Levi, Saleimoa, Poutasi, Lefagaoalii and Sili is Samoa’s latest Fulbright Scholar.

This is according to an 11 March statement published by the U.S. Embassy Apia on its website.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. 

Sefuiva, 36, graduated from the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science.

She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Studies (2011) from the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) in Suva, Fiji.

“My passion follows conservation of species and ecosystems with years of field experimentation and connecting with communities on projects that not only support and maintains the health of ecosystems, population and species but also contributes to sustaining the livelihoods of our people,” Sefuiva said in the statement.

“This year I am taking a step back from my career with the government to pursue a Master’s degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University with funding support from a Fulbright Scholarship award I was fortunate to receive for 2021-2022.

Her research is on the conservation of Samoa’s national bird the Manumea (tooth-billed pigeon, Didunculus strigirostris).

She said it “is not only rare but also listed as critically endangered in the world’s list of endangered species.”

“Currently, I am working on this research project under the support and leadership of the Samoa Conservation Society with a number of conservation partners such as the Auckland Zoo, BirdLife International and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,” Sefuiva said.

“We are looking for more support in terms of funding, expertise and if you wish to volunteer for the field search, please let us know. Let’s do what we can to protect and save our Samoan birds and its habitats from extinction.”

She thanked her support system and the U.S. Embassy and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program for their support.

“I would like to acknowledge the Fulbright Foreign Student Program for the support, and also the kind assistance of the U.S. Embassy and everyone who believes in this work, and that it can be a success,” said Sefuiva.

“There is a wealth of knowledge that I look forward to learning, from this experience with Fulbright and I’m willing to make a change for our endangered biodiversity and for our communities. Thank you to my family and my parents for all the support.”

She is a former employee of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) working as a Principal Parks and Reserves Officer under the Division of Environment and Conservation.

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 13 March 2021, 1:00PM

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