CAPTION: USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra with Her Excellency, Ambassador Dr Anne-Marie Schleich. Photo: USP.
The Ambassador of Germany based at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Wellington, New Zealand, Her Excellency, Dr Anne-Marie Schleich, recently paid a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the South Pacific, Professor Rajesh Chandra, on Monday 6 May, 2013.
The purpose of the courtesy visit to the Laucala Campus in Suva, was to exchange views on how the university could establish links and develop cooperation with Germany.
Professor Chandra expressed his appreciation for the visit and remarked that the Ambassador’s visit coincided with an exciting phase for USP, with the University embarking on its new Strategic Plan for 2013-2018.
While acknowledging the European Union’s support towards the University, the Ambassador identified ways to work with USP to make contact with universities in Germany, to explore mutual research interests and identify programmes that could be of interest to USP.
Her Excellency, DrSchliech was enthusiastic about exploring potential research opportunities between USP and universities in Germany, saying that the tertiary sector is very important, and advancing research opportunities was just as important.
The Ambassador also noted that the University was able to participate in academic exchange programmes with Germany such as through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which offers postgraduate scholarships with special relevance to developing countries.
Professor Chandra also agreed that this would be a good opportunity for cooperation with universities in Germany and he thanked the Ambassador for reaching out in this way, saying that the USP community would benefit greatly.
Her Excellency, DrSchleich, also emphasised the importance of advocating the issue of climate change, and commended USP’s efforts, especially the work being done by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD).
The Vice-Chancellor also put forward two suggestions for Germany’s consideration. He suggested that, in line with the University’s objective to move from good to excellent, a centre to promote European Studies could be established. Her Excellency, DrSchleich, said she would raise the idea of having a centre for European Studies with Germany’s European counterparts, which are part of the European Union.
Another point Professor Chandra identified, was that as the Strategic Plan emphasises the importance of capacity building and professional development, positions for academic staff, such as a Professor in Marine Biodiversity, who could help with training and increasing awareness of marine biodiversity, could be established, through the combined efforts of the University and the Embassy.
The Ambassador emphasised on the role of German development agencies, such as the Deutsche Geselleschaft fur InternationaleZusammenarbe (GIZ), in promoting climate change awareness in the Pacific region. The Ambassador said workshops for postgraduate students on climate change, through the GIZ, would be a good joint initiative. The Vice-Chancellor agreed, saying it would be a wonderful opportunity to enhance collaboration between the University and Germany.
Her Excellency, the Ambassador holds a PhD in Political Science, and is a long serving diplomat who has held positions with German embassies in Singapore, Bangkok, Islamabad, and London. Prior to her appointment to New Zealand, she was Germany’s Consul General in Melbourne.
In addition to serving as resident Ambassador to New Zealand, Her Excellency DrSchleich also serves the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.