The University of the South Pacific (USP) has been and continues to be a bedrock for regionalism, USP vice-chancellor and president, Professor Pal Ahluwalia said this while speaking at the Ministerial Banquet in Auckland, New Zealand.
Prof Ahluwalia said the university was resource-owned by the region; for the region and a precious institution that needs to be protected in line with the vision of our forebears.
“I am acutely aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants; Pacific leaders who had the prescience of their ancient navigating forebears, to set up an institution of higher learning and to set it on a course over the horizons in pursuit of two things — excellence and equity.”
Prof Ahluwalia said USP graduates had filled critical roles, and many had gone on to be leaders in their own right, across all sectors in their respective countries.
Although the focus in the early years of USP was on teacher education to support member governments with their education workforce as they gained their independence, over the years, USP has expanded its offerings in response to shifts in regional priorities and needs.
He said as these regional needs had become more divergent, the prospects of adequately meeting them, while remaining true to the ongoing commitment to excellence and equity had increasingly become a difficult challenge on diminishing resources.
In his concluding remark, Prof Ahluwalia reassured that USP has had to be responsive and resilient and have much more to gain than to lose from genuine innovation.