Embrace Service to Address Societal Issues: Uni Fiji on GCC 21st-Century Role

The University of Fiji suggests the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) redefines its 21st-century role, prioritising service as leadership’s main purpose, amid the Fiji Coalition Government’s efforts to re-establish the traditional itaukei institution.

In their submission to the GCC Review Committee, Uni Fiji vice-chancellor Professor Shaista Shameem said the GCC should depart from its historical role to adapt to changing times. She drew a parallel to Jesus Christ’s service to humanity saying that the true mark of leadership and kingship is to serve.

She identified ten key issues that the GCC should address in society, ranging from the treatment of women and children to caring for the environment and finding solutions to conflicts, shifting from merely protecting interests to actively working for the well-being of the people, promoting values such as equality, education, and health.

“To put it bluntly, the GCC has to confront significant issues in its own society, broadly speaking, much more than it has in the past. They are…treatment of women and children in society, understanding the difference between leadership and management, education- formal and non-formal, creative and reflective, health and well-being, basic income, understanding difference, diversity, and vulnerability, caring for land, sea and sky, finding a way through conflict, the nature of work, and becoming a good ancestor,” Professor Shaista said.

“These 10 ‘human values’ points serve as the starting point for considering the role, purpose and functions of the GCC in the 21st century in our view. The best way of addressing these issues is by looking at the GCC as a model of service.”

Professor Shaista said by embracing a service-oriented perspective and proactively addressing these issues, the GCC could remain meaningful and relevant for future generations.

The submission is one of many received by the committee during its public consultations which began in May. The review, which covered all 14 provinces, seeks to gather public opinions on the reinstatement of the GCC after it was disbanded in 2006 by former Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The committee is scheduled to present its findings to the Minister for iTaukei Affairs Ifereimi Vasu next week.

Photo: File

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