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Royal launch for Fiji climate master’s fund

Prince Harry, also known as HRH Duke of Sussex, has cut the ribbon on a new scholarship for four Pacific Island and Caribbean students to study for climate master’s at the respective partner universities.

Island nations want to do more on environmental science with scholarships. Photo: Unsplash

The agreement between the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University, and the University of the West Indies, will allow students to travel between the island nations as part of a new project by the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network, of which the institutions are founding members.

The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships for Climate Resilience will be fully-funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan Endowment Fund, and is delivered in partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

It is part of the wider Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship scheme, which was renamed in April 2018, and was formerly known as the Commonwealth Scholarships in Low and Middle Income Countries. The Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network was created at the same time, after the ACU pressured regional education ministers.

Harry, who is on an official visit to Australasia and the South Pacific with his wife, Megan, is also Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. He made the announcement at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

With this announcement, Fiji became the first Pacific nation to pay into the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan Endowment Fund, joining 12 other nations.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian attorney general, said the scholarship fits well with the nation’s wider environmental policy.

“Fiji is leading the world’s fight against climate change as current president of COP23, bringing the entire international community together in the same canoe to reduce global warming and build resilience in the communities most affected by climate event.

“This step is a natural fit with the Fijian Government’s unyielding commitment to two core causes: curbing climate change and investing in education. We’re proud to become the latest country to demonstrate its commitment to this important pan-Commonwealth initiative,” he continued.

Ralph Regenvanu, foreign minister of Vanuatu, said the scheme will fill two gaps for the small island nation: both the knowledge gap it is now experiencing, and the climate crisis, also experienced by the whole world.

“As an island state vulnerable to the effects of climate, we are determined to be on the frontline of learning and action when it comes to environmental matters,” he pressed.

One of the four universities, the University of the South Pacific, is jointly owned by the governments of 12 countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. It has campuses in all the member states, but the main campus is in Fiji.

  • The University of the South Pacific will host one scholarship for a student from the Caribbean to study for a Master’s in Climate Change, offered by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, from January 2020, inviting applications in April 2019.
  • Fiji National University will host one scholarship for a student from the Caribbean on its interdisciplinary Master’s in Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience, inviting applications from April 2019.
  • The University of the West Indies will host two scholarships for students from the Pacific in 2019 and 2020 studying for Master’s in subjects relating to Climate Change, inviting applications in December 2018 and December 2019.

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