Half a century of regionalism – University of the South Pacific turns 50

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (February 5, 2018) – Today marks the 50th anniversary of the University of the South Pacific, a member of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific and one of our greatest examples of working together as one region.

Established in 1968, the University of the South Pacific is one of only two regionally owned universities in the world. In USP’s case it is owned by 12 member countries - Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa.

In congratulating the USP on this milestone event, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said, “We must acknowledge and celebrate the vision of our leaders, who began this journey half a century ago, to provide our peoples with higher learning on our shores; cultivating a common sense of identity based on our shared history and geography, and recognizing that we would achieve more together than individually.”

“50 years later, USP remains a flourishing symbol of our region’s determination to do and think for itself”. 

Dame Meg acknowledged the vital contribution that USP had made to the region – producing generations of Leaders, professionals, academics and public servants across all spheres of community. She also acknowledged those who came through the university as educators and administrators, contributing to an organization that remained the premier tertiary education institution in the region.

“On behalf of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific and indeed our regional development partners, as the Permanent Chair of CROP, I am honoured to congratulate past and present staff and management of the University,” Dame Meg said.

In the first gathering of Pacific Leaders in the then South Pacific Forum held in Wellington between 5 and 7 August 1971, Leaders recognised that USP was “an excellent example of regional cooperation. Cooperation between countries and territories of the South Pacific was not new, but problems of geographical separation, communications and differing colonial administrations had made such cooperation difficult in the past. The cooperation such as it was, was largely between metropolitan powers with administrative responsibilities in the region. The Situation today was markedly different. The island leaders today were taking an interest in regionalism.”

The University of the South Pacific is spread across 33 million square kilometers of The Blue Pacific. An area more than three times the size of Europe.

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