New Zealand and the University of the South Pacific (USP) have announced a ten-year partnership aimed at bolstering the long-term success of a critical regional institution.
The partnership was launched at a ceremony held at USP’s Centre for Culture and Arts in Suva, Fiji, in the presence of NZ Deputy Prime Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs (Pacific Region), Carmel Sepuloni, and USP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia.
In her remarks, Sepuloni underscored the importance of regional solidarity and unity in the Pacific, calling the partnership a testament to the values of Pacific regionalism. She highlighted the rich heritage of Pacific knowledge and cultures that form the foundation of the partnership, and emphasised the importance of Pacific-led leadership in driving sustainable development in the region.
“The USP is a well-known training ground for future leaders and is an institute where many Pacific leaders and politicians have studied. It’s a centre of excellence for, and kaitiaki of, Pacific knowledge, systems and research,” Sepuloni said.
“We’ve partnered with USP since its inception in 1968, and today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to the university and the important role it plays to the region.
The partnership between New Zealand and USP presents an opportunity for joint efforts in advancing shared priorities, including the region’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Pacific nations.
As part of the partnership, New Zealand will provide NZ$35 million over the initial five-year period to support USP’s long-term planning, innovation, and stability.
Professor Ahluwalia, USP Vice-Chancellor, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, highlighting that it will leverage the unique strengths of both parties to foster positive outcomes for Pacific people.
“USP has been and continues to be a bedrock for regionalism and an institution that needs to be strengthened for its long-term sustainability.”