Professor Shameem Brings a Refreshing Change at UniFiji
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
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.