Samoa Beat

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Hon. Keneti Loau Sio hopes Samoa Conference IV will be the beginning of a long journey for Samoan way forward developments.

“I hope we get to achieve something great with sharper minds taking part in this week’s conference,” he said.

“Samoa has been facing a lot of challenges however they were able to find the right solution for them,” he added.

Such challenges include topics like domestic violence, climate change, and technological advances and catching up to the rest of the world.

He also highlighted the importance of having partnerships with other countries.

He believes that if there are many lights then there will be many shellfish.

“At the end of the Samoa Conference, Samoa will be able to tackle any trials that may arise,” he said.

Good governance is one of the issues that need to be addressed and he is expecting for it to be overcome.

Meanwhile, Samoa Conference sparks even bigger conversations in topics such as Innovation, Leadership and Collaboration.

Domestic violence and climate change are the biggest ones that we have to deal with head on.

Today’s sessions have been led by Mr. Sean Mallon of Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.

Defining what is practical for Samoa based on lessons learned from an overseas experience

should be clearly applied.


These include opportunities for research and transferring that knowledge into an institution
based curriculum.


This was the experience of a Tourism Lecturer from the National University of Samoa (NUS)
who attended a five-week Pacific Islands Fellows Program (PIF) in Hawaii recently.


Mrs Lenara Tuipoloa-Utuva, who is also a researcher in the Tourism discipline has been able
to capture the amazing tourism initiatives at this Program and already looking forward to
transferring that knowledge to the current Tourism curriculum.


Mrs Utuva’s selection at this fellowship had provided her with the knowledge, skills and
attributes on farm-to-table initiatives that could become an ideal project for Samoa’s tourism
development.

 


“Hawaii is beautiful is one of the well-known tourist destinations. It has various fresh
produce farms that makes the difference in the tastes of Hawaii,” said Mrs Utuva. “This is
something I wanted to understand more about so I can work on transferring that into our own
Samoa tourism industry, because we have great potential for it.”


Following a competitive process of selecting applicants from the Pacific region, Mrs Utuva
succeeded as the sole local representative.


“The organisers placed us in work placements as interns for the duration of five weeks,
according to the interests that we identified in our applications. We are supposed to learn
from these internships and further build professional networks.”
The group is the first of the Pacific Islands Tourism Fellows Program as part of the Pacific
Islands Development Program which East-West Center administrates.
“The main objective was really to create a space for tourism fellows to work on their ideas
towards sustainable tourism in their own islands by looking at what is in Hawaii mainly
through internships. Similar to our exchange programs at NUS. I think not only have I gained
insight on farm-to-table and how practical it can be, but that insight also contributes to the
development and support for our courses here at NUS - it is a research opportunity,” added
Mrs Utuva.

As the sole representative from Samoa at the program, Mrs Utuva is determined that by
integrating new ideas into the current curriculum and sharing it with the young people would
assist in Samoa’s cause for sustainable foods and produce initiatives.
ABOUT THE PACIFIC ISLANDS TOURISM FELLOWS PROGRAM
The program brought two cohorts of tourism industry professionals from the Pacific Islands
to Honolulu, Hawai‘i that builds significant new capacity and facilitate enduring professional
bonds between industry leaders in the United States and the Pacific Islands.

Professional Fellows were chosen through an open competition with ideas for an applied
project or business problem that bears directly on tourism growth in their home country.


Rigorously curated placements, with a close pairing of each Fellow’s project objectives to the
Designated Placement Host, will offer Professional Fellows fresh insights, new analytical
perspectives, and practical approaches for building nascent island tourism sectors.


Supplemental educational and cultural enrichment activities will ensure Fellows acquire
substantive leadership skills as well as a deeper appreciation of American society.


ABOUT PIDP


From the very beginning, the East-West Center has maintained special interest and expertise
in the Pacific Islands. Many of the earliest students who received their education through
East-West Center fellowships were from the region, especially the then-Trust Territory of the
Pacific Islands, and shortly after the founding of the world-renowned Polynesian Voyaging
Society it wassupported by a special Center program. In 1980, under the visionary leadership
of Fiji Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi a
special Center program was formed to specifically address the unique issues faced by island
nations emerging from decades of colonization.


Today the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) conducts a broad range of activities
to enhance the quality of life in the Pacific islands. The founding mission of PIDP is to assist
Pacific Islands leaders in advancing their collective efforts to achieve and sustain equitable
social and economic development. Since 1980 PIDP has served as a forum through which
island leaders discuss critical issues of development with interested countries, donors,
nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. On four occasions the Pacific Islands
Conference of Leaders has met with the President of the United States in Honolulu.


PIDP's role as a regional organization includes the following major activity areas:
 Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders
 Pacific Islands News
 Research
 Capacity Building
 Governance & Democracy
 Secretariat of the US/Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission (Active from
1990-2006)

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As PIDP was formed at the specific request of the region’s island leaders, it is the only East-
West Center program whose activities have a defined geographic focus informed by both the
area studies and disciplinary expertise of its staff and participants.


PIDP is excited to be working in close cooperation with the State Department's Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs on this program and welcomes the involvement of its
partner institutions including theSouth Pacific Tourism Organisation and the University of
Hawai‘i at Mānoa'sSchidler College of Business andPacific Business Center Program.

Photos by: Lenara Tuipoloa-Utuva

 

The Student Support Services Unit (S.S.S) challenges students to achieve their goals and be successful by seeking support for any issues they face as students.

The manager of the Student Support Services Unit, Mrs Faletui Vailaau Toma says their aim is for students to graduate which is why she is reminding students of the essential support services they provide.

The unit offers support in three areas of Mathematics, English and Counseling. Computers are also available to students for usage.

The only challenge which they hope to remedy is the small space available to operate from.

Along with limited space, some students have even admitted to finding it hard to locate the S.S.S headquarters.

Student Support Services was established in 2015, and close to 300 students are being supported by the services to date, with the service encouraging students to make use of this support.

More information regarding the Student Support Services at N.U.S is found on the National University of Samoa’s website:

Student Support Services

The Student Support Services (SSS) offers a variety of services that are available to the students on campus. Our team comprises of two counsellors, literacy and a numeracy officer. We work as a team to make sure adequate support is provided to meet each student’s educational and welfare needs.

Services : counselling, literacy and numeracy programmes, career counselling for students, critical thinking skills workshops, social skills development workshops for students, health and welfare of students, assistance for International students in basic literacy skills both in English and Samoan

Learning Centre:  Our recently opened learning centre provides students with desktop computers with internet access to conduct their researches and a large space to do their studies.

Staff Contacts

Faletui. Valaau-Toma

Manager

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 20072 ext 287

House 4 second floor

Lepapaigalagala Campus

Luagalau Foisagaasina E. Shon

Student Counselor and Literacy Officer

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 20072 ext 319

Fesili Liu

Numeracy Officer

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 20072 Ext: 324

The Tokai University students travelled miles away from home in the name of enhancing global awareness and fostering cultural and international exchange.

The group which include 98 students and 48 staff were welcomed to N.U.S with an ava ceremony to kick off their visit, before they relocated to the gym, where they got to mix and mingle with our local students.

Students of Le Papaigalagala were chosen to join the students of Tokai University during their fun activities and games at the N.U.S Gym.

However, the visit aimed at fostering links with the nursing programmes, which some students will be sponsored to study at this University under an exchange programme.

According to group leader, Taisei Tanaka “ The purpose is for students to engage in exchange programs and International education activities.

He said this is an annual activity. The Takai delegation visit was for four days. They were also scheduled to visit not only Samoa but also Bombay Malaysia, Vanuatu and Marshall Islands.

“I will not be limited to the kitchen.”

This was just one of the many strong statements made by Josephine Ogeuta, a third year student of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) during a commemoration of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (I.W.D). This year’s theme is Press for Progress, given a continuous and strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity and equality.

To commemorate, the Faculty of Arts (FoA) Peer 2 Peer Group organized initiatives which included presentations and a short Film Screening.

Josephine Ogeuta shared her personal experiences as a Samoan woman in her home, community, and education environment.

Ogeuta questioned the role of women in Samoan history in the 1930s to the 1950s and why it is not part of the official history, the history of which we do not learn of in primary and secondary education.

Ogeuta believes the traces of history that include women remain untold and it’s evident in its omission within primary and secondary education standard benchmarks.

Ogeuta has taken it upon herself, to challenge the various cultural norms and break the barriers that she now realizes, poses a hindrance towards achieving her goals and aspirations as a young woman in Samoa.

“I will not limit my capacity and role as a young woman to the kitchen,” she said, putting emphasis on women and girls having the ability to shape their own lives and decisions.

Following Ogeuta’s presentation, Dr. Saui’a Louise Mataia-Milo shared a sneak peek at a research she was working on, focused around women.

The presentation displayed the various roles of women in Samoan history, including a tribute to the early pioneers of women recognition.

The images illustrated various perspectives of how our women and girls were perceived, what they were expected to do and look like as indigenous women.

One perspective of our Samoan women and girls that was very obvious from the snippets, was how they were sexualized namely by the Marines and those who took the photographs. However, these historical facts are never within conversation.

“Back then, our women and girls never had the chance or circumstances that enabled them to shape their own lives or make their own decisions, no one told their stories, I urge young women, to make your own history and tell your own story,” she said.

The Faculty of Arts Peer2Peer Initiative were behind the occasion as a part of involving youth in a youth initiative.

Prof. Fui Leapai Ilaoa Lau Asofou So’o has been re-appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa following a decision by Cabinet.

This means Prof. Fui will take the helm at N.U.S for another three years.

The Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa will take one last run at the post as he claims plans to retire after 2021.

Since starting in 2009, Prof. Fui has implemented various changes to N.U.S including changing of the University from the school system to a Faculty system.

This was in part of a move to create a more inclusive education plan for N.U.S by the demolition of the then named Polytechnic division and merging it under the one Faculty system based university.

Another milestone in the past nine years for Prof. Fui had been the implementation of a unified salary scale for the University.

At the time, Fui says there had been a flurry of noises from the backdrop regarding the many changes the University had undergone, but eventually later died down.

“I know there was a lot of disagreement at the time about where the University was headed, but there was a clear picture in my head about how where exactly I wanted it to go,” he said.

Nine years later, N.U.S continues to thrive with the V.C exemplifying the success of N.U.S staff with academic publications and research, as well as the continued improvement in methods and performances of staff.

For the next three years in his term, Prof. Fui says the focus will be exactly on what he had honed within his time as the V.C at N.U.S.

“Basically Im focused on consolidating the structure. Perfecting the way N.U.S works. The processes and the quality that goes with the structure,” he added.

On a much closer scope he says T.V.E.T courses are a must for the University to push.

“Most of us think T.V.E.T and we think practicality and hands on, but not knowing that there is more to these courses and for N.U.S to look into,” he said.

The question that hangs at the balance is where he will be after this term as the Vice Chancellor.

“I think it may well be time for some new blood in this seat. I think it will be time for me to move on from where I am and take up a position on another level, meanwhile some new blood is very much welcomed here at the leadership role at N.U.S,” he added.

 

Gender stereotyping has been identified as one of the root causes of gender-based violence in Samoa.

A seminar on School Related Gender Based Violence was held at the National University of Samoa in a partnership with UNESCO to help tackle the issue of continuing violence in the school environment.

Stereotyping is believed to be another cause of the problem, where students are forced to feel a certain way because they are either different or don’t meet society’s expectations.

UNESCO Project Coordinator Nguyen Thanh Van says stereotypes is harmful because it sets out certain rules and standards for somebody that is different and not wanting to give up to such standards.

“For someone that is different and wouldn’t want to live up to these expectations, they would be automatically considered a minority or to be the outliers of society,” she added.

“Expectations is how the society expects someone to behave, or someone to act within a certain context,” she said.

With these expectations we have amongst each other, Van, says violence usually starts from there and later on would lead to social pressure.

With the partnership between UNESCO and the National University of Samoa Media and Journalism School, they were able to put together a seminar to educate the representatives of each faculty about school related gender based violence.

The seminar highlighted that there is a significant gap in the awareness of the public regarding to the forms of violence that exist in schools and its causes and consequences to the students.

Alexandra Meafou, the president for the National University of Samoa’s Students Association says, “I believe this seminar is helpful for everyone, especially someone who is a victim of violence such as myself.”

“It changes my mindset with what I have been taught and experience as a child,” he said.

“Everyone is equal, despite being rich or poor, black or white, weak or strong, we are all the same which is why we have to treat everyone fairly with the power we are given,” he added.

Stereotypes happen to both men and women. Gender stereotyping affects everyone equally.

 

A presentation by senior lecturer, Dr. Mema Motusaga at the panel discussion on community laws has revealed that some 19 villages in Samoa do not allow their women to hold matai titles.

 

Dr. Motusaga believes that our culture will not be harmed by allowing women to hold matai titles.

 

She also says that there is no law that bans women from holding a title, however some villages still bans it.

 

One of these villages is Saleimoa as was discussed by Fesolaí Aleni Sofara, a lecturer in commercial law and a resident of Saleimoa.

 

My village Saleimoa bans women because of three main reasons. First, they are our feagaiga, "(the covenant and the apple of the brother's eye) second tama e tai ai faaaloaloga, (the daughter whom all the fine and respectable things are presented to) and that they are the tausi-alií (advisors to their husbands and manfolks).”.

 

Other women who were present at the seminar shared with the participants their reasons for opting not to have matai titles they are not comfortable, they respect their brothers and sisters and they also have that idea mens are leaders.

 

Dr. Motusaga firmly believes that what men can do, women also ahve the abilities to do.

 

Dr. Mema Motusaga is a Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship & Centre for Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa

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