5 December 2014
Suva – Ahead of Rights Day on 10 December, the University of the South Pacific is calling for applications for scholarships to study ethical leadership, good governance and the protection of human rights in the Pacific.
Applications will close on 9 January 2015 for the scholarships funded by the Australian Government for anyone with a strong record of working or volunteering in roles with a community or social development focus to undertake a Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights at the university in Suva, Fiji.
The 18-month diploma was jointly developed by the university and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC RRRT) in 2013.
Regional case studies in the course materials demonstrate the effects of corruption, the importance of the rule of law, and the right of everyone to be treated with equality and dignity. With a focus on the Pacific context, the diploma students build their understanding of the importance of these concepts for the development of their country.
The Australian Government has since offered scholarships to 27 people from throughout the Pacific Islands to complete the diploma.
Over 450 students, from 10 Pacific Island Countries, have enrolled in the first course developed by SPC RRRT & USP since it was first offered, namely “Introduction to leadership, governance and human rights”. In addition, the second course, “Principles of good leadership and governance” has had 82 enrolments, from 8 Pacific Island Countries, since it was first offered in Semester 2, 2013.
One of the first scholarship recipients, Wiliame Nayacatabu, said it was valuable for him to undertake formal studies in leadership while he held the position of President of the Fiji National Youth Council. “There is a good alignment between the Diploma and my practical work as President,” Mr Nayacatabu said.
“Learning about transparency and accountability was particularly useful when I was new to my role as President [in April 2014], and the NYC’s National Executive Council was required to elect a new General Secretary. I had to make sure that the process was transparent and collaborative.”
Another recipient of the Australian Government-funded scholarship, Maria Buama of Vanuatu, said the courses inspired her to share her story as a mother who has experienced many injustices in her life including gender-based violence.
“In the first semester of 2013, I never spoke in class, mainly because I was never allowed to speak or express myself in my community except in the boundaries of my kitchen,” Mrs Buama said. “But by the second semester, I gained my confidence and couldn’t stop sharing my stories for the other students to learn from. If I don’t speak up, the issues will not be known and the cycle of the issues will continue,” said Mrs Buama.
The student population for the diploma has been diverse, including police officers, nurses, church leaders and a youth candidate in the 2014 Fijian election. The diploma courses are also being available as elective subjects for students studying degrees in law, arts and commerce.
The deadline for scholarship applications is 9 January 2015. For details visit: http://www.rrrt.org/publications-media/publications/item/581-diploma-in-leadership-governance-and-human-rights-scholarship
Education and capacity building is part of ongoing efforts by Pacific Island countries and territories to step up their protection of human rights, with the support of SPC and its development partners.
For more information, contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected]. Photo caption: A student of the Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights at University of the South Pacific, Laucala campus, November 2013.