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Otago VSA MOU image

The MOU was signed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Tony Ballantyne and VSA Chief Executive Kate Wareham, who were accompanied by VSA Business Development Manager Tamar Porat, Head of Pacific Engagement Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai and Acting Director of Pacific Engagement Professor Rose Richards.

A second memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the University of Otago and Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) aims to expand new horizons of service in the Pacific region.

The MOU aims to facilitate close collaboration between the University of Otago and VSA, providing opportunities for students, staff and alumni from the University to connect and engage meaningfully with organisations and communities in the Pacific as VSA volunteers.

This agreement builds on a 2018 MOU between the University and VSA , and will create further opportunities for the University to directly respond to emerging aspirations and needs in the Pacific region by attracting volunteers with skills in a variety of fields, including business and economic development, environmental sciences, health and education.

Head of Pacific Community Engagement, Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai, says the partnership is a great opportunity for both the University and VSA.

“This partnership is ultimately about making a real difference and working together with organisations in the Pacific.

“It’s also a different way of looking at growing our leaders. We are now not only able to mentor them here but also in the Islands.”

The MOU was signed by VSA Chief Executive Kate Wareham and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Tony Ballantyne.

Professor Ballantyne says he is delighted with the MOU.

“This agreement both recognises the strong relationship that we’ve built up over the years with VSA but also puts that relationship on new footing, a footing that enables us to make a real difference in the region and to create wonderful opportunities for our staff, students and the communities that we engage with.”

Pacific Development Acting Director Professor Rose Richards says the MOU will ensure volunteers are well supported when embarking on their placements in the Pacific.

“Our role at the University is to create lifelong learners and that’s not just in the classroom. This is one of those partnerships that puts our students, staff, alumni and researchers out there in the world within the safety net of a really experienced organisation.”

~ Kōrero by Keilah Fox.

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