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[Media Release - MFAI] Cook Islands Government Statement on the University of the South Pacific

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

As a member country of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and as a Member of Council, the Cook Islands look forward to the convening of an extraordinary Council Meeting this month and joining all Council members in deliberations that go to the heart of welfare of staff and students, governance and the future of our regional University.

The Cook Islands is a proud founding member of USP and in its 50+ years of the University’s existence, we are as steadfast and committed to our University community as ever. The Cook Islands USP campus opened in 1975 and is a hub of research, innovation, learning, teaching and community engagement that has over the years contributed immeasurably to Cook Islands community and society. Those contributions, coupled with the contributions of USP main campus in Suva have been significant in the many thousands of graduates that have gone on to serve member countries of USP and our region as well as the research, science and policy contributions that have emanated from USP discourse.

Further, USP as our regional tertiary education provider has significant future contributions to make to the development of our respective countries in the years ahead, particularly given the multiple challenges of climate change, health pandemics, oceans governance and technological advancements.

It is therefore imperative USP Council ensure the governance and management of our regional University is of high standing and the university is administered and governed by established due processes, with Council the pinnacle of the University Governance structure. The welfare of staff and students of the University must be given priority consideration, particularly amidst the unprecedented challenges that have arisen with COVID-19.

The Cook Islands look forward to meeting with all Council members this month, via virtual platform where necessary, to find an acceptable solution for all members of Council that preserves the integrity and future of our regional university, strengthens its governance and administration and supports optimally the welfare of staff and students of our USP community throughout our region.

The Cook Islands have 2 students studying at the USP Suva campus, and some almost 200 studying via the Cook Islands USP campus in Rarotonga.

Queries regarding this media release can be directed to

Photos from USP graduation photo archives of graduation ceremonies held in the Cook Islands at the national auditorium in recent years.


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