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Ahluwalia’s aspirations

New USP chief talks about plans to make uni greater

TWENTY-eight years after first setting foot on the Laucala Campus of the University of the South Pacific, Pal Ahluwalia is back as its ninth Vice Chancellor and President. Back then, he was a visiting junior lecturer from the University of Adelaide in Australia, but prior to taking over the leadership of USP in January this year, he was Pro Vice Chancellor of a leading university in England. Professor Ahluwalia was born in Kenya, educated in Canada and Australia and has worked at the University of California at Berkeley and at San Diego, the University of London and the University of South Australia. Islands Business publisher Samisoni Pareti and staff writer Peni Komasavai talked to Professor Ahluwalia about his plans for USP.

IB: You want the USP to be value- led in the strategic plan you are now reviewing. What do you mean by that?

Ahluwalia: What I mean about values education is that I wanted very much to emphasise, I want every graduate to realise that in everything we do, we are unique because we are located in the Pacific islands and that we have a unique culture. I was very much inspired by the idea of inclusiveness, inclusivity and open dialogue, so as I have said… the plan will be guided by inclusive Pacific values, of inclusive families, participatory and open dialogue and the values that I want to really emphasise are excellence and creativity because I think that has to drive things in the university. I am really passionate about ethics and accountability, respect and inclusivity, where you must have respect for our cultures. Everything that I have done is to try and emphasise the values of the Pacific islands… and the last is really about supporting our people, it is about supporting our students.

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