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The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

 

Reading books not only expand your vocabulary but can help you in being articulate and well-spoken in any profession.

 

Indeed one of the National University of Samoa’s initiatives to enhance the literacy and numeracy skills of its students.

 

By doing so, N.U.S. appreciates every donation now and then to ensure that up-to-date textbooks and reading materials are made available at its Resource Centre.

 

More than 100 new textbooks valued at AUD$10,000 were received by the Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Lau Asofou So’o on behalf of the university’s library this week.

 

These textbooks will be used by staff and students of the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship (F.O.B.E).

 

The donation is a result of a brief visit by a study group of ten undergraduate business students and two staff members led by Senior Lecturer Dr. Michael Seamer of the Faculty of Business and Law of the University of Newcastle in 2015.

 

The group’s trip was funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who visited a number of businesses in Samoa to gain insight into the opportunities and challenges of doing business in developing economies.

 

“It was during the group’s visit to our Library that they were made aware of the resource constraints faced by the (N.U.S),” Dean of F.O.B.E, Seve Tuipe’a Aloimaina Folototo Seve said.  “This is a start of a close relation between faculties of both institutions.”

 

“To ensure the continuation of this relationship, the University of Newcastle (U.o.N) has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding,” Seve added.  “It is currently under review now by the (N.U.S) which will be of great mutual benefits.”

 

“The textbooks are valuable resources because some of them are new and up-to-date editions of the textbooks that are used by the lecturers to teach students. Hence, their arrival is timely in that they improve the resources available for students.”

 

It will not be the first trip for U.o.N, according to Seve, Dr. Seamer has indicated that another round of government funding has been proposed to bring the next group of students in 2017.

 

A proposal that Prof. Fui is looking forward to maintaining such close relationship between the two institutions and hoping for more similar opportunities for N.U.S. to learn from.  “We wish to acknowledge the Samoa’s Consular General in Sydney who initially received this donation from the (U.o.N),” Prof. Fiu acknowledged.  “These textbooks were delivered at no cost to us here and we must acknowledge Afioga Fonoti Manogiamanu Etuale Ioane and staff.”

 

Similar sentiments were echoed by the Chief Librarian, Nanai Avalogo Togi Tunupopo.  “We are always grateful to our donors such as U.o.N for sharing resources with us through this donation.”

Caption:

Receiving more gifts of knowledge through new textbooks: Prof. Fui with F.O.B.E and Library Staff

Photo by: Tu’ifao Tumua (N.U.S. Multimedia)

Aside from fancy bouquets that many of our locals are successfully known for, a newly introduced concept has made way to Samoa.

It is called Ikebana.  A Japanese concept for giving life to flowers through simple arrangements.

It’s an art which focuses on simplicity of connecting humans to mother nature.  A huge turnout of local participants attended a two day training at the National University of Samoa recently to learn about this Japanese art form of floral arrangements.

Co-facilitated by the Federated Farmers Incorporated (F.F.I) and N.U.S. Oloamanu Professional  Development and Continuing Education Centre (O.P.D.C.E), the request for this training came through Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Fa’alavaau Perina Sila-Tualaulelei.  The Horticultural Programme of N.U.S. also assisted in organisation of this training.

Held in four sessions over two days, the special guest trainer, Mrs. Yorie Inoue, wife of the Honorary Consul of Samoa in Japan never held back any knowledge she had shared with the attending locals.

With total support from the university’s management, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Peseta Desmond Lee Hang delivered the keynote address.

“This training is the first of its kind in Samoa. It also marks the beginning of our partnership with the Federated Farmers Incorporated,” Peseta said.  “It is also in line with the university’s mandate of providing academic, TVET and community programmes that enhance and strengthen the human rights skills of our people so that they are economically productive and have sustainable livelihoods.”

A gesture well received by the F.F.I’s Secretary and spokesperson, Seumanutafa Dr. Malcolm Hazelman.  “I was contacted by Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan through my wife and I immediately said yes,” Seumanutafa said. “I offered to organise everything but I was thinking about the university especially the horticulture side since they do similar things I have been involved with.”

Since F.F.I’s inception, Seumanutafa’s vision to initiate community activities has not only drawn a lot of gardeners and farmers with shared interests to help each other.  “A lot of our participants at this training is part of our Informal Gardeners Group which means informal where anyone can join.”

Seumanutafa is also the Coordinator of the Informal Gardeners’ Group that have conducted monthly visits to gardens and farms.  “We visit a lot of farms and gardens and through that we learn from each other and hopefully we do similar activities with the university.”

What was most noticeable about Ikebana as most participants felt is that of its simple design that gathers between 4 to 5 flowers that represent leaves, flowers and stems.

“Plant desires to grow, same as human beings. Connect it to our lives, we have to take care of everything even if it is a simple flower, treat with respect and emphasize the space of things,” Mrs Inoue told the participants. 

Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, and form.

For the winning Ikebana on the first opening session arranged by N.U.S. Office Assistant, Tuutuulima Leuluai, the knowledge and skills she had learned would enable her to apply at work.

“It’s a new concept for me and I really appreciated it,” Leuluai told NUS Campus News.  “It was rewarding to be here for a short time and I had learned something new and applicable.”

“I could really use these ideas to start doing simple bouquet arrangements for our office.  It was beyond my imagination that such simplicity means a lot than the usual Samoan arrangements of flowers.”

Other prize getters include Leataataoletaeao Blakelock and Shorley Mariner who are both members of the Informal Gardeners’ Group.  Both received consolation prizes from Mrs. Inoue.

Caption: (l-r) Tu’utu’ulima Leuluai (Winning Ikebana florist), Mrs Yorie Inoue (Japanese Ikebana Trainer), Leataataoletaeao Blakelock (Second Prizegetter) and Shorley Mariner (Third Prizegetter).

 

 

About ten students from the National University of Samoa and two nominees selected by the Samoa Observer will be travelling to China for the first time.

This is the first cultural tour of its kind for N.U.S., an initiative from the Chinese Ambassador Xuefeng Wang with the hopes of familiarising students from Samoa with China. 

The tour will also be an opportunity to promote Samoa through such visit.

The group will be leaving Samoa on Tuesday, June 14 for ten days.

The students and parents had a briefing with the Vice Chancellor and President of N.U.S. on Friday to remind them of good manners and to be in their best behaviour.

The ten travelling students are Philton Solomona and London Leuma (Faculty of Education), Daniel Faletoese (Faculty of Applied Sciences – Nursing and Health Sciences), Stallar Tauiliili (Faculty of Applied Sciences – Maritime Training), Tupalu Auelua (Faculty of Applied Sciences), Siusiuosalafai Papalii Oloigogo (Faculty of Arts), Amuolemoana Meredith (Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship), Taila Charlotte Johnston (Faculty of Medicine), Roya Ieremia (Faculty of Science), Rachel Tominiko (Centre of Samoan Studies)

Photo by: Tuifao Tumua (N.U.S. Multimedia)

 

The highlight of this trip for me really was to see the opportunities out there for the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) Media and Journalism School to be globally involved.

Even those opportunities when you do get them can be a really useful door to market not just the university but Samoa to lure in tourists of various backgrounds.  One of those is meeting none other than the founder of E-democracy, Mr Steven Clift in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who also coined the concept itself in 1994 using current buzzwords, that is the use of social media and technology for open government, citizen engagement, local innovation, public deliberation, and related topics.  His E-Democracy.org website became the world’s first election information website. His “government by day, citizen by night” insights were built as the founder of the State of Minnesota’s first e-government initiative at that time and was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Open Government in 2013."

Other than being digitally successful through his e-democracy project, he also created 1 Radio News App that brings together over 65 countries by compiling a global radio news bulletin in English. It is the top rated radio news apple on Google Play.  It is a pro version that has 30 times more stations on demand shows with no mobile advertisements compared to its free version.  It delivers over 500 hourly news, shows, and stations from around the world.

Mr Clift's vision is crystal that the media is a successful platform to bring together issues and views of the democratic sectors which we are all aware of.  Radio news segments from giant media organizations like the BBC, CNN, Australia's SBS, ESPN, Voice of America, Radio Scotland and many more are made available on this app.

Absolutely remarkable.  Other than Australia's SBS and Radio NZ International that produce Pacific programming, there is already hope for the N.U.S. Campus radio station to step up and be part of this global engagement.  Mr. Clift is most favorable to take in some of our campus or local content.  He will share some ideas on how our students could provide radio news for a wide audience. In addition he will also share some links to the listeners with college radio folks where he sees peer to peer exchange.  There's our door to the global community.  That is definitely going to be my first post Multimedia Regional project and the next step to take.  We have a certain audience and that is the young people within the vicinity of our campus.  Even though we were set up as an educational tool, our Facebook Page has already attracted thousands of audience.  It is also the most appropriate radio application for us as part of this collaboration and it's free.  Thank you Mr Clift.

I should say keep on saying it again that the world is changing but it is becoming more speedier than you think.  Even I have to follow Twitter by the second.  It is within a blink of an eye.

Should we get that Tuisamoa Cable up and running, we will absolutely be masterminding our own e-Samoan content across all sectors given the value of information on various policies and processes (even the changing role of the media and our relations with the Samoan public) which has yet to reach the wider society.  For instance, how many Samoans know what the Strategy for the Development of Samoa document entails? How many people understand what their constitutional rights are?  What choice of programs and courses (aside from the status quo) are being offered at the National University of Samoa? Really, how many Samoans actually embrace the role of the media other than being labeled as 'faikakala' (nosey parkers), you name it.

The visits to Journalism Schools here in four states have been impressive except one thing.  I can never find millions of tala to get N.U.S Media and Journalism School up to their standard.

The American Media Schools are so glamourous and luxurious.  Of course research ideas and drawing relations between media schools as providers of quality media training can be something of a mutual interest but I am a pragmatic than being an idealist of what goes on in the industry versus the public and how we should be consistent with the real world out there.  This in my view brings me to the core of having the best available resources on the other hand to attract more young people to take up media as an honorable profession rather than just another job.  I cannot draw that comparison with what the American Media Schools have with what we have, but I want to stay optimistic because if I lose to critics, nothing is ever going to change for the better.   I'd move mountains if I have to so that the future of the Samoan media gets the best resources. On the other hand I'd like to win their hearts first by staying true to their cause and course in life. It's not just Samoa but all TVET Media Institutions in the Pacific region hence why we formed Media Educators Pacific (MeP).  One of its core objectives is to share resources, forge stronger relationships with the industry and donors to provide quality regional media training.

It is our last week in the United States and like they say all good things always come to an end.  But then ending too has a new beginning. More stories will be shared about the lessons learned from this trip.

It's time to go for 21 broadcast journalists including myself (as a Multimedia Lecturer) who were indeed being honored by the hospitality of the U.S State Department.  It was indeed an opportunity to examine how broadcast media influences and reflects the American society as well as seeing first hand the influence of social media and digital technologies on how citizens use and share information.  These new forms of multimedia platforms have amazingly and shaped how the way news is gathered, reported, distributed and consumed.

Amidst the fast changing and challenging role of New Media today in the United States, local state media organizations are still successful through the delivery of information content via traditional media.

When we say new media, we often refer to it as using the internet through websites and social media (Facebook, Twitter and many others) not specifically including online applications (such as Whatsapp, Viber, Instagram) whereas the traditional media is newspaper, radio and television.

There has been a lot of research on advantages and disadvantages on this transformation of what the best practices should be for the media to get those messages out to the society. You don't have to succumb to the idea that one is the best than the other, it is how you will use these platforms to reach out to the public and get them engaged.

It's a global issue and each unique community is facing challenges and far worse risks than the other. 

Not only is the media is facing such critical times on how to let the traditional media survive in a competitive market but how you measure the impact of your messages and work in the community.  How much do people know about your mission statement and goals?

In my view, the Samoan media industry is gradually embracing the role of new media in terms of ensuring these platforms are being utilized.  I tell you if only the figures of what is presented online could transform into a physical business figure, the thought of setting up a media business in Samoa is a choice - you'd be rich.

This is not the latest statistics on Samoa but according to the Internet World Stats (November 2015), with a population of over 190,000, about 50,000 of them are internet users or Facebook users.  Now that in my view is not representative as Facebook users are not the same as being an internet user so i would not take that as a genuine figure.  However, by following each media page of individual media organizations, you would find that the most popular one, of course is the sole monopoly, Samoa Observer with 37,634 followers on Facebook alone and that number could increase.  The second largest is TV1 with 8,537 followers and it's understandable that TV1 has the most coverage in Samoa. Then we have other media outlets with thousands of followers, which of course, is a large and fair amount of people following the news, as this is where the crafting of the best stories as journalists come in.  Surprisingly the N.U.S. Media and Journalism School Page has 949 followers, not the last and not the highest, but there is another facet of Facebook analytics to not necessarily having the highest number of followers, but the insights say, you have more people engaged or have seen your page or a certain story than your followers.

Whereas in the traditional print media, you would perhaps measure the impact of your outreach production by the number of newspapers you sell a day or a week.

But it's not always how the impact of your work is measured according to the media and journalism literature.  It is how changes and informed decisions are being made.  How those figures as i've listed before could help governments, non governments and civil based societies get those messages out there is something that local state media organizations in the U.S. have been successful. 

Most parts of this column have been published on my page this week and thought should be shared with the wider audience in this regard.

Of course we cannot make wonders with all the lessons you had learned from any outside system that isn't your normal practice but I must commend efforts by the American authorities to allow a robust environment for its media, on the national and international arena.

I met Ms. Susan Stevenson who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Bureau of Public Affairs whose job is to ensure that there is a press officer on government trips. I'd say this again, we cannot blame the media for doing what it is doing and for being ethical and professional by all means in how they do it. However, there is a huge communication gap between the government, non government and civil based society organizations in terms of advocacy and outreach programs that those in the rural and even urban areas still do not have access to credible information.   I will not again dig into literacy and numeracy issues as though they are linked but that is again another story for another day.

In Samoa, the Government Press Secretariat according to its website, is primarily tasked with providing media-related advice and assistance to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as providing information to the Public and the Media about Government initiatives and the latest news from Cabinet.   In fact, the Prime Minister's door is always open to the media.

In his address during this year's World Press Freedom Day (where we co-hosted with UNESCO and three other UN Agencies) called on every CEO to talk and respond to media requests. On top of that, he has had experience whereby CEOs are asked to prepare media briefs rather they give him essays.

And that's where we need to improve on.  In addition, when hiring media officers, we need to hire someone who has some background in media, experience and knows the job not mickey mouse or anyone you just happen to know and needs a job.  I would like to see at least one journalist to travel and report on those international meetings often and should be funded by the requesting organization (whether officially requested or not, it's a commitment that should be made). It can be done.  Everyone wants to be a reporter these days.  

I am always appreciative of the fact that the National University of Samoa has a Vice Chancellor (leader and C.E.O.) who is more open minded and supportive of the media.  As the largest institution in the country with a population of 3,500 students and close to 400 staff members, the need for someone with media background is a must.  There are numerous programmes, courses, new developments and daily activities within the university that we would like our stakeholders (local and international) to be aware of.  It is also about delegating the work that you do and trust your staff to communicate with the public.  Go to where the people are.

Two of the most notable elements in state local media organisations within the U.S is its strength on Investigative Journalism and are run through non-profitable models to survive.

In that way there is more emphasis on public service through journalism.

Forget the business side of media as am not an expert and I don't own one (though its news content is the face of a media organisation and could rake in more money).

Media organisations we visited in Seattle, Washington and Minneapolis, Minnesota have been successful in getting the public engaged via traditional and new media.

Access to public information (and I mean, what you pay taxes for) bridges the work of media and government in the U.S.

Nothing is hidden except some still have the appetite to not disclose it. And that's exactly where journalists would start digging. Get that word out to the public.

At King 5 Television in Seattle (considered one of the strongest broadcast media company and most trusted brands in the Pacific Northwest), Ms Susannah Frame is the Chief Investigative Reporter who has reported on numerous cases of government waste, real estate fraud, homeland security breaches and have led to many changes in public policy, criminal investigations and created new laws.

There's the impact of what we do as media.   We have those huge number of followers as alluded to earlier.  Utilise all platforms best suited to your audience.  It sounds time consuming and of course the question of human resource but if we really need that complete information cycle and more people to engage, it has to be this way.

There is a freer and stable relationship between the state and media in the U.S. And so as Samoa.

Thank you Seattle (Washington) and Minneapolis (Minnesota) for the wonderful experience.  Who gets to see two separate states in eight days.  We started from Washington D.C. to Seattle, Washington to a split group assignment in Minneapolis Minnesota.  The other three groups are in Austin (Texas), Cleveland (Ohio) and Denver (Colorado).  The four groups will meet in New York this week to conclude their project.  It is said this is the media capital of the U.S. 

Hello New York.

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