Pro­fes­sor Shameem Brings a Re­fresh­ing Change at UniFiji

Fiji Sun - - COMMENT - NE­MANI DE­LAIBATIKI Feed­back: ne­­laibatiki@fi­

Pro­fes­sor Shaista Shameem de­serves her ap­point­ment as Act­ing Vice-Chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Fiji.

With her wide ex­pe­ri­ence and var­ied back­ground, she brings a re­fresh­ing change and sta­bil­ity to an in­sti­tu­tion pre­vi­ously rocked by pro­fes­sional and in­dus­trial un­rest.

In its short his­tory as the new­est univer­sity, the in­sti­tu­tion has had a high turnover of vice-chan­cel­lors. With her lo­cal knowl­edge and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence Pro­fes­sor Shameem is the right choice.

Not only will she act in the role - that one day she will be con­firmed as the sub­stan­tive VC.

She, no doubt, will get there on merit.

Pro­fes­sor Shameem is a prom­i­nent flag­bearer for women em­pow­er­ment in Fiji.

Her recog­ni­tion is a trib­ute to the univer­sity own­ers, Arya Pra­tinidhi Sabha, for plac­ing their faith on some­one not of the same re­li­gious be­lief to head the in­sti­tu­tion.

They have picked her on merit and set a fine ex­am­ple to other faith groups who have been clam­our­ing for school heads to be of their faith.

Pro­fes­sor Shameem is an ex­pe­ri­enced ad­min­is­tra­tor hav­ing de­vel­oped the Fiji Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion’s op­er­a­tions from in­cep­tion in 1999 un­til 2009. She was the re­cip­i­ent of the West­pac Busi­ness Ex­ec­u­tive of the year in 2006.

She had in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights ex­pe­ri­ence­hav­ing been the UN Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on the Use of Mer­ce­nar­ies re­port­ing to the Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in Geneva (2004-2006) and was ap­pointed the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral (the late) Kofi An­nan’s to a Com­mi­sion of Ex­perts’ re­view into pros­e­cu­tions of se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Ti­mor L’este in 1999.

She has 30 years aca­demic lec­tur­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in New Zealand and Fiji (Univer­sity of Waikato and Unifiji).

She has two PhDs – one in So­ci­ol­ogy and one in Law. and has a Har­vard post-grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion on leadership from JFK School of Gover­ment.

Her first job was as a jour­nal­ist with the Fiji Times

(and Her­ald).

She was a doc­u­men­tary fil­maker – hav­ing made six doc­u­men­taries on gen­der and power, politics and the in­den­ture labour sys­tem in Fiji.

She is a Fel­low of the Royal So­ci­ety of Arts, Man­u­fac­tures and Com­merce which is lead­ing in in­no­va­tive ideas and ed­u­ca­tional devel­op­ment.

Her vi­sion for higher ed­u­ca­tion in Fiji is to re­form ed­u­ca­tional pol­icy so that we pro­vide stu­dents at all lev­els with dif­fer­ent learn­ing skills for the 21st Cen­tury and be­yond.

That’s an im­pres­sive vi­sion. Her task now is to achieve it. She can do it.

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