The Pro Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Ikbal Jannif, led a visit to Solomon Islands from 16-19 April, 2013 in connection with the proposed new campus.
The team also comprised the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration and Regional Campuses), Director of Development, Marketing and Communications, Director of Properties and Facilities, and the Manager of the ADB Project Implementation Unit. The visit was very successful.
The lease for the new campus at Ndoma for 100 hectares of land was signed in a dignified and significant ceremony involving the traditional leaders of the land, the Premier and executives of the Guadalcanal Province, the Prime Minister and members of his government, Commissioner of Lands, and other invited guests.
The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo launched the Solomon Islands Campus project, on 17 April 2013. Prior to this, the land lease was signed by the Solomon Islands Commissioner of Lands, Silva Dunge and the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Rajesh Chandra.
Prime Minister Lilo highlighted his government’s commitment to the University as a regional institution and to providing whatever assistance was needed for the speedy development of the new campus.
“Our doors are open to regional and international institutions that are willing to work in partnership with us for sustainable outcomes. We are open to dialogue and will take the steps necessary to allow these partnerships to grow and flourish,” he said.
Prime Minister Lilo said he strongly supports the University’s intentions to expand its operations in the Solomon Islands, which is good for many young Solomon Islanders who wish to continue their studies, but are unable due to costs and other obstacles.
“I understand that USP will be expanding its courses on technical, vocational, and community education, thereby offering another less traditional route to higher education.”
“We therefore look forward to USP to accelerate the development of the new campus and my government will ensure that we provide all the necessary support and assistance during the implementation of the project,” Prime Minister Lilo said.
The Prime Minister also assured that the Solomon Islands would guarantee the loan. He wanted to make it clear that the launch of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) did not mean any diminution in SI commitment and support to USP.
Pro Chancellor Jannif thanked the Solomon Islands government, the people of Guadalcanal Province for their land and support and the Asian Development Bank for providing the loan to build the new Campus.
He spoke about the history of the University in the Solomon Islands, from the Solomon Islands Centre being established in 1971 to the launch of the building of the campus project.
He said the need for the new campus was long overdue, with student numbers being very high – over 1500 in Solomon Islands and almost 1000 in Laucala.
“USP will work closely with the Government and the people of Guadalcanal Province to ensure the success of this project. It is exciting times ahead and one that will firmly establish USP in Solomon Islands as we move forward into the future providing quality and relevant education for all,” Jannif said.