Saturday, July 13, 2024

Auckland University signs historic MoU with Samoa

The University of Auckland and the National University of Samoa have signed an historic agreement that aims to support Pacific-led research.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater travelled to Sāmoa last week to sign a university-wide Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National University of Sāmoa (NUS) that will boost connections between the two universities for students, academics and professional staff.

It was Professor Freshwater’s first visit to Sāmoa. She was accompanied by Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific Professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau, Lemoa Henry Fesulua’i, and Sili-Mireta Ropati. They met with NUS Vice-Chancellor Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Peseta Dr Desmond Lee Hang.

Delegation members of the National University of Samoa and the University of Auckland
Delegation members of the National University of Sāmoa and the University of Auckland.

By signing the MoU, together the University vice-chancellors made a commitment to collaborate closely to support Pacific-led research and ensure effective pathways for tertiary success for Sāmoan students.

Professor Freshwater said that to be in Sāmoa for the signing was significant, given the relevance and importance of the Pacific and its connection to Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The University of Auckland is part of the United Nations Academic Impact, an initiative that aims to align tertiary institutions to contribute to realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Four years ago, the University was appointed the official hub for SDG 4 – Quality Education, by the United Nations Academic Impact.

“The University has a long-standing commitment to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all,” said Professor Freshwater.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Amosa said she was honoured to host the University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor in Sāmoa to formalise its future collaborations.

“We are very honoured, we are very grateful for your time to come to Sāmoa,” she told Professor Freshwater.

“We look forward to the initiatives that will come out of this agreement, we thank you for that.”

“Thank you for the engagement, we are really looking forward to what we can do together,” Professor Freshwater responded.

Professor Freshwater says the importance of face-to-face meetings allowed for greater engagement, ensuring the delegation from both universities were able to discuss extensively many of their shared goals for Sāmoan students.

“We are here to demonstrate our willingness and desire to align with NUS, and discover ways we can support each other and improve success for our Sāmoan university students,” said Professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau, Pro Vice-Chancellor PacificWaipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

Vice-Chancellors Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa and Professor Dawn Freshwater.
Vice-Chancellors Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa and Professor Dawn Freshwater.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacfic Professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau said working collaboratively with academic researchers, professional staff and students from NUS could only lead to better outcomes for Pacific peoples.

“We are here to demonstrate our willingness and desire to align with NUS, and discover ways we can support each other and improve success for our Sāmoan university students.”

Pacific Portfolio lead from the University of Auckland’s office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) Sili-Mireta Ropati, said the new agreement signalled a great opportunity for Sāmoan students.

“This is the University of Auckland actioning its commitment to Pacific communities beginning with Sāmoan youth and Sāmoan students from the National University of Sāmoa. Our young people here in Sāmoa will have opportunities they have never had before, such as the recognition of their learning here, allowing that to be accredited so they can pathway into being educated at Waipapa Taumata Rau,” she said.

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