Top global accolades for USP, the ‘captain’ and Pacific regionalism

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University of the South Pacific
The University of the South Pacific ... THE global recognition. Image: Wansolwara

OPEN LETTER: By Elizabeth Fong

A ranking of an institution of higher education by Times Higher Education (THE) is the ultimate recognition of excellence that an institution can aim for.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) has achieved two accolades by being ranked for 2022 and secondly being the only institution of higher education in the Pacific to gain this recognition.

All USP graduates of the 12 member country states can look back and appreciate the wisdom of the decision to establish the USP with the main campus at Laucala.

Fiji as the host of the main campus continues to be the largest beneficiary in terms of graduates and financial income and has much to be grateful for.

I am an alumni and a grateful Fijian!

This kind of recognition takes a team and every team has a captain.

Vice-chancellor and president Professor Pal Ahluwalia is the captain that took the university across “the finishing line” that won us “gold”.

In this journey he has acknowledged the contribution of the many who played a part in this achievement that is about all of us Pasefikans.

Congratulatory messages have been received from alumni, current and former staff members, stakeholders and generous donors inclusive of messages from the member governments of Nauru, Samoa and Tuvalu to date.

The silence from the leadership of the country hosting the largest campus that also leads the Pacific Islands Forum is deafening to say the least!

Should we live in hope?

Nevertheless this will not detract from USP’s status as the most successful example of regionalism in the Blue Pacific as it continues to “Shape Pacific Futures”.

Long live USP!

Dr Elizabeth Fong is chief librarian and at the University of the South Pacific and president of the USP Staff Assocition. This letter was first published in The Fiji Times on 10 September 2021.

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