Five “outstanding individuals from around the Pacific”, including Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna have been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of USP.
Recipients of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) were Puna who, is a former Chancellor of USP, Sir Frank Kabui, Governor-General of Solomon Islands and former Chancellor of USP, and Legal Consultant Mere Pulea,
Receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) were Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and former Pro-Chancellor of USP and Ikbal Jannif, chief executive of Caines Jannif Limited, Chancellor of the Fiji National University and former Pro-Chancellor of USP.
Puna, who worked as a lawyer before entering politics, has what a USP press release described as an outstanding and dynamic political career, spanning 15 years.
“His entry into the political arena as a member of parliament took place in 2004 which resulted in him being elected the leader of the Cook Islands Party two years later in 2006,” the release said. “Puna has been heralded nationally and regionally as an intelligent, articulate visionary committed to the people of Cook Islands while strongly supportive of regionalism and regional unity.
Under his premiership in 2011 the Cook Islands a founding member of the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG), the release said.
“From July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, he was the 23rd Chancellor of USP, and as Chancellor he advocated for lifelong learning opportunities meaningful to all Pacific Islands people.”