In late 2022, representatives from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) hosted the Pacific Regional Alumni Dinner in Suva. Attended by over 30 guests, the dinner including Australia Awards alumni and other alumni from the Pacific region who also studied at UNSW.
The dinner encouraged networking and professional connections across the Pacific region and ongoing connections with UNSW.
The evening’s host, Satish Chand (Professor of Finance in the School of Business at the UNSW Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra) praised the valuable contributions of the Alumni to regional development and on their role as ambassadors for UNSW.
Australia Awards and UNSW alumnus; Siteri Bainivalu also spoke at the event. She expressed her gratitude to UNSW for providing the opportunity to reconnect with the university and network with fellow alumni. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Construction Management and Property from UNSW in 2019, Siteri is now employed in the Ministry of Infrastructure. She used the evening as a platform to share her experiences of the Fijian infrastructure sector, depicting knowledge gaps in the construction industry that she hopes will be bridged through future collaboration and knowledge sharing with UNSW and professional connections.
The dinner was a great opportunity for three new Australia Awards scholars, who commenced studies at UNSW in Semester 1, 2023, to meet with UNSW staff and alumni and start developing relationships before they embarked on their scholarship journey.
Serene Shrestha, commencing a Master of Global Health/Master of Public Health was thankful to be invited to the dinner, she said: “It was an excellent opportunity to meet my fellow scholarship recipients and establish connections with staff who work at UNSW, including the Head of UNSW’s Public Health department! It was wonderful how friendly and welcoming everyone was. A harbinger of the warm environment that must be present in UNSW.”
While Deepashna Shandil, commencing a Master of Global Health (Extension)/Master of Health Leadership and Management was enthused by the evening, she said: “The Pacific Regional Alumni Dinner provided an opportunity to build networks and learn more about the UNSW community. Personally, for me, it was very inspiring.”
In addition to hosting the Pacific Regional Alumni Dinner, during their visit to Fiji, the UNSW delegation met with Fijian academics, Fiji Government, and development partners to facilitate research workshops.