Caption: The President of the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, addressing the USP community, invited guests, members of the public, and students, on Open Day. Photo: USP.
The University of the South Pacific held its Open Day 2013 on Friday, August 9 with the theme USP- Shaping your future, attracting more than 8000 students from 70 high schools at its Laucala campus alone.
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Esther Williams, welcomed the Chief Guest, His Excellency The President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, invited guests and the various schools and said the Open Day was an opportunity to showcase USP’s beautiful campuses, to explain how the programmes and courses are recognized as the best in the region, and to demonstrate how the research carried out by the University helps communities, governments and businesses in the Pacific.
USP Pro-Chancellor, Mr Ikbal Jannif acknowledged the sponsors and development partners who all had an equally significant role in contributing to USP’s Open Day, and introduced the Chief Guest, noting that His Excellency has been a longstanding friend of the University and the region and said the University was honoured by his presence.
“I am so pleased that a very inspirational individual, who has himself achieved the heights of success, and yet remains incredibly humble and devoted to service, has graciously agreed to join us today,” he said.
His Excellency said he is privileged to have observed USP’s growth and development over the years. “USP is large and inclusive, and has a diverse range of academic offerings, so you can expect a very lively and exciting day full of activities, fun, and a huge amount of information,” adding that the information will be used by prospective students who will be future leaders, present at the Open Day, to make an important decision for themselves.
He said many leaders in the Pacific, including His Excellency’s colleagues, friends and associates and scions of government and industry, have studied at USP. “USP is the place where those crucial first professional networks are made, and is increasingly where Pacific professionals return for seminars, debates and advanced studies,” he added.
“Today is also an opportunity to find out more about this university’s unique selling proposition, or what distinguishes it from your other university options,” he said.
“There is much that makes the University of the South Pacific, an outstanding option for higher education. USP’s unique selling point is that it is the highest quality tertiary institution in the Pacific,” he added.
He said USP is widely recognised and known by employers, with courses and programmes being internationally accredited, and many graduates going on to work at some of the most well-known and highly-regarded private and public sector organizations in the pacific, and a large number of USP graduates now working internationally.
“USP stands out because of the university’s commitment to the success of all of its students. This commitment permeates all that the university does. You will see ample evidence of this today presented as individual services, facilities, options, and assistance but I want to be sure that you see all of the support services for what they are as a whole, a strong commitment to the success and wellbeing of every student,” he said.
He advised prospective students to gather as much information as possible, and to stay engaged with the people they met during Open Day.
“I wish all of you a wonderful open day 2013, for this day will give you all a good taste of university life, and I am certain that the events of today will help you all to make your decision easier, to pursue further and higher education here at USP,” His Excellency said.
The opening ceremony of the 2013 Open Day ended on a high note, with a vote of thanks delivered by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Student Services, Professor Susan Kelly, and entertaining performances from the Oceania Dance Theatre, Pasifika Voices, and the USP Tongan Students Association. Guests, including members of the diplomatic corps, regional and international organisations, private sector corporate sponsors and schools principals were treated to a morning tea after the official ceremony closed.
After the opening ceremony, school students were taken on guided tours of the University. The fun-filled day was wrapped up with entertainment from the USP Student Association’s multi-cultural groups.