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Strengthening links with the University of the South Pacific

Thursday 4 September 2014 11:08am

Jenny Bryant-Tokalau image
Associate Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau with one of her namesakes, little Jenny, in Fiji. .

Otago’s Associate Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau of Te Tumu - School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies has been made an Adjunct Professor at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji.

Her role will include assisting with course development and postgraduate programmes, supervision, research and consultancy.

The position is an honorary one and is in recognition of her more than 30 years of service to USP, and to the Pacific region.

USP is a large, regional university with 27,000 students studying across 12 campuses.

“This is a great honour to me and I feel humbled to have been asked to fill this role,” she says.

Associate Professor Bryant-Tokalau taught at the University of Papua New Guinea from 1975 to1978, and joined the USP in 1983, working her way up from Lecturer to Associate Professor in the Geography Department.

She remained at USP for 13 years, then worked with the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility, based in Suva until the early 2000s, retaining her connections with USP by serving on various academic boards.

"This is a great honour to me and I feel humbled to have been asked to fill this role."

In 2003 she joined Otago’s Department of Anthropology and took up her position at Te Tumu in 2007.

“Through my research on poverty, land and environment, my links with USP have always remained strong, not only with Geography, but across the various campuses, particularly the School of Government, Development and International Affairs as well as Marine Studies and the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.”

Otago has a Memorandum of Understanding with the USP and the two universities already share a number of connections. Several staff have worked at USP and continue their research links; the Ratu Mara Fellowship allows a USP staff member to be attached to Otago; and the annual Otago Foreign Policy School regularly includes USP staff in its speaking programme. Two of Associate Professor Bryant-Tokalau’s PhD students are currently on fieldwork in Fiji and receive a great deal of support from USP.

Associate Professor Bryant-Tokalau hopes her new position will allow her to further strengthen the links between the two institutions.