VAKA Pasifiki Education Conference has ended on Wednesday night with a “thankyou” dinner, hosted by Dr Franco Rodie, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government.
The Mendana Hotel venue was packed as Solomon Islands and international conference participants mingled and socially engaged.
“The final conference dinner was as memorable as the conference days,” a statement received yesterday said.
The statement said that speeches flowed freely. Gifts were exchanged and tears poured uncontrollably that evening.
Soon-to-be Dr Martyn Reynolds from Victoria University of Wellington said that the final dinner was really moving for him.
“For me to greet and thank every single participant whom I had met at the conference, from rural Solomon Islands primary teachers through to Solomon Islands friends, Pacific regional and metropolitan academics, were a privilege I will not quickly forget.”
Solomon Islands poet and SINU academic Mrs Roselyn Maneipuri said “The conference presentations were awesome. Excellent stories were coming out – something that has been kept in the rear for 30 years. Conference participants were fed intellectually. You could see smiles everyone’s faces at the end of the conference.” As well,
Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba of the University of Guam agreed that it was a brilliant conference.
Professor Nabobo-Baba, an indigenous Fijian added, “It would seem that Fiji has a thing or two to learn from all the mentoring by Professor Kabini Sanga and other Solomon islanders, which were very evident in the Honiara conference.”
Professor Nabobo-Baba, a veteran conference-goer provided detailed, witty and clear reflections at the end of each day of the conference. So her observations about the Solomons conference are hard to dispute.
A very satisfied Dr Jack Maebuta could not contain his pleasure at how well the Solomon Islands had performed in hosting, what he described as “a uniquely Solomon Islands conference.”
He added, the hunger by Solomon Islands teachers for learning was obvious at the conference.
In expressing a similar sentiment of pleasure about the conference, co-convener and Solomon Islander, Dr Kabini Sanga commented, “The conference brought many different people together as learners and in doing so, each one and all had their cups overflowing.”
The conference was started on Tuesday and finished on Wednesday. It was held at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Kukum Campus.
By LESLEY SANGA