Speech by HE Yutaka Yoshizawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of the Fiji Islands
On the Occasion of the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Project for Construction of the New Information and Communications Technology Centre at the University of the South Pacific
at 10am, 21 January 2009, at the University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus, Suva.
Interim Minister for Provincial Development, Fijian Affairs and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau,
Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, Professor Rajesh Chandra,
Fellow Members of the Diplomatic Corp,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, on behalf of the Government and people of Japan, I wish to extend heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the recent flood which affected many parts of Fiji. I hope they will be able to overcome this ordeal with their own courage and with the help from both within and from outside of Fiji.
It is my great honour and pleasure to be here this morning, to participate with you in celebrating this important function that marks the beginning of construction works on the new Information and Communication Technology Centre at the University of the South Pacific.
Being the premier provider of tertiary education of international standards in the South Pacific region, University of the South Pacific is a renowned institute for teaching, research, consulting and training on all aspects of Pacific culture, environment and human resource development needs.
Understanding the difficulties associated, not only with the geographically isolated location of the small island nations, but also with sharp information differential in the Pacific region, Japan acknowledges distance and flexible learning as a more convenient approach in this new era.
In supporting USP's efforts in promoting USPNet for the remote Pacific Island countries, Japan's grant aid will empower USP with an ICT Centre comprising of a Department of Computer Science as the core of the Centre.
Japan is hopeful that the new ICT Centre will significantly improve the current information and communication technology education and training functions of the University of the South Pacific, which is providing remote island countries in the Pacific with distance education and learning activities using USPNet.
I also take the opportunity to thank all stakeholders of this project for the cooperation and assistance rendered to the associated visiting missions from Japan, and I am confident you will render similar continued support to the JICA Technical Cooperation Project which will begin enhancing ICT education and distance learning through the utilisation of the new ICT Centre from the next fiscal year.
I wish for successful completion of phase one of construction work on the ICT Centre whtin the agreed timeframe, and I reassure you that the Embassy will continue to work closely for assistance to promptly implement phase two works on the construction of hte multi-purpose lecture theatre.
Ladies and gentlemen, with these few words let us witness together the much awaited occasion of pouring of cement to lay foundation and mark the beginning of the contruction of this state-of-the-art ICT facility at your very own and only regional Unviersity in the South Pacific.