A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ANU and the University of the South Pacific (USP) on 24 August 2015.
The MoU was concluded during an ANU delegation visit to the Suva campus of USP in Fiji. The ANU delegation was led by Professor Michael Wesley, Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. The delegation met with USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra, and members of the University’s Senior Management Team.
The MoU is aimed at fostering collaboration across a range of areas, including staff and student mobility. Professor Wesley noted that “There are many issues, from governance to sustainable development, that researchers and students of ANU can better understand if they come and spend some time at USP, not only in Suva, but across the University’s 14 campuses”.
Professor Wesley said that ANU was proud to formalise the relationship with USP, and was determined to ensure a “living” partnership.
In keeping with this goal, there are already plans underway for an event to celebrate the ‘launch’ of the MoU. On 18 Sept 2015, USP will host a screening of the 1945 documentary Fiji Return, which contains recently unearthed archival footage of Fijian soldiers fighting on Bougainville and returning to their home islands. It offers a rare and rich visual record of this crucial episode in Fiji’s history. Many Fijians today will recognise people and places filmed. Dr Vicki Luker from the School of Culture, History and Language will represent ANU at this significant event. She and colleagues found Fiji Return in the UK’s Imperial War Museum while researching materials for a course on World War II in the Pacific.
ANU involvement in this event is being supported by a College of Asia and the Pacific Strategic Partnership Development Grant, awarded by the Dean of the College, Professor Veronica Taylor. In awarding this grant, Professor Taylor spoke of the broad range of academic linkages that already exist between ANU and USP, and of a desire to strengthen those ties and enhance cooperation with such an important institution in the Pacific region.