The 23rd Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (USP) will be the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna, who has been appointed to serve in the role from 1 July, 2016 for a term of one year.
Honourable Puna will be formally installed during USP’s Laucala graduation ceremony on 26 August 2016. The Chancellor is the titular head of USP, who confers the qualifications of the University.
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council Mr Winston Thompson warmly welcomed the new Chancellor on behalf of the University Council. He assured Honourable Puna of the full support from the USP community.
“We would also like to thank Prime Minister Puna for honouring the University in the lead up to the milestone of the 50th Anniversary in 2018,” Mr Thompson said.
Honourable Puna graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1979 from the University of Tasmania in Australia and was admitted to the bar in Canberra and Sydney in 1980.
He is a member of the Cook Islands Party and assumed office as the Prime Minister of Cook Islands in November 2010.
Honourable Puna has extensive civil service experience and has served as the Secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry of Tourism and Transport and the Ministry of Trade and Labour.
He is married to wife Akaiti Puna and has nine children.
The outgoing Chancellor is the President of Vanuatu, His Excellency Womtelo Reverend Baldwin Lonsdale, who served a one-year term. The appointment of a Chancellor is for one year.
The Chancellor of the University is appointed from USP’s 12 member countries in alphabetical rotation.