The National University of Samoa held its 2017 Graduation ceremony on Friday, 7 April at the NUS Gymnasium.
It was a memorable ceremony due to the fact that for the first time in the history of NUS, two students graduated with Phd’s. Ramona Boodoosing from Trinidad and Tobago and Tuiloma Susana Tauaa from Samoa who is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts at the National University of Samoa.
Dr Taua’a’s thesis is entitled Urbanization, Poverty and Economic Informality: Characteristics of Informal Enterprises in Apia, Samoa. Her research question asks: to what extent does the urban non-agricultural informal economy provide livelihoods for Samoan people and prevent poverty? The thesis examines how economic informality has been perceived and analysed by aid donors, economists and geographers in developing countries generally, and in the Pacific Island countries specifically. Her conclusions are based on analyses of her primary research data collected from street vendors and stall holders and home-based operators selling food and a variety of goods in Apia. These show that informal enterprises are a vibrant and growing part of Samoa’s economy enabling significant number of rural as well as urban households to earn adequate livelihoods. The suggested policy significance of her thesis is that government and non-government agencies and development partners could continue to encourage informal enterprise by viewing it positively, removing regulatory barriers and by providing basic business advisory services and small loans.
Dr Boodoosingh’s thesis is entitled Violence against Women in Developing Countries: Policy and Services in Samoa and Fiji. Her research question asks: are the models for helping victims of gender-based violence in rich countries such as Australia or the USA effective in developing countries without social welfare systems? The thesis presents a detailed analysis of the services offered in Samoa by non-government organisations, and by government education, health and law and justice services, with some comparisons with Fiji. It concludes that western models tend to be unsustainable because most of the services offered are funded by charity or by development partners, with limited oversight by government or analysis of their effectiveness. She advocates core-funding and oversight by government for services that have been demonstrated as effective and sustainable.
In addition, over 400 students graduated form NUS with Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees, Graduate diplomas, Post Graduate diplomas and Masters from the different areas of studies that they had been pursuing. Among the graduate were two of the Centre for Samoan Studies Staff members, Sooalo Otilia Sooalo who graduated with a Masters in Education and also Eric Clem Groves who graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies.
The Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi did the Keynote address, while Aeau Chris Hazelman spoke on the declaration (O Sa o le Iunivesite o Samoa). Rev. Vavatau Taufao FS led led the opening prayer while the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa Office Choir sang the hymns throughout the ceremony.
The Centre for Samoan Studies wishes the graduates all the best in their future endeavours.