Representatives of Fiji’s three resident universities, the University of the South Pacific, the University of Fiji, and the Fiji National University today took part Youth Leadership Contest, organized by the India Fiji Friendship Forum and the High Commission of India in Fiji.
While academic achievement remains a cornerstone of personal growth, the event's organizers emphasized the importance of real-world skills beyond the classroom.
To this end, a dynamic and interactive quiz competition was introduced, offering participants the opportunity to answer questions in real-time showcasing a commitment to evolving and improving each year, with enhancements evident throughout the day.
The organizers also accentuated the importance of teamwork and leadership in the professional world emphasizing that while learning and collaboration are essential, developing leadership skills is equally vital. The Youth Leadership Contest aims to instill these values by highlighting the significance of teamwork, individual strengths, and leadership abilities.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon Professor Biman Prasad, officiated at the event held at the University of the South Pacific's (USP) ICT Centre in Suva, emphasizing the importance of nurturing youth leadership.
Since 2017, the India-Fiji Friendship Forum has played an instrumental role in actively promoting and strengthening the relationship between Fiji and India. In the last nine months, under a new government, Fiji has accelerated its efforts to reestablish and deepen its ties with India and the broader Pacific Islands region.
Hon. Prasad, during his speech, highlighted the incredible growth and dynamism of India as a global leader in various sectors, including economics, politics, democracy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He commended India's role as a leader of the south, particularly acknowledging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's influence in global forums.
"We want to engage much more deeply and meaningfully to ensure that we not only experience what we have had over so many years in terms of our relationship but also take it to the next level," stated Deputy Prime Minister Prasad.
Recognizing the aspirations of Fiji's youth, he emphasized that Fiji's young generation is also dreaming, achieving, and inspiring others.
“Government's focus on youth development is evident through various initiatives, including a $50 million allocation to support children from preschool to high school, the write-off of $650 million in Tertiary Education Loans (TEL) debt benefiting nearly 53,000 students, and the establishment of a merit-based scholarship scheme,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
“Furthermore, Fiji has faced challenges in its labor market, with approximately 10% of the workforce lost in the last 18 months. To address this issue, the government aims to provide opportunities for young Fijians worldwide and encourages their return with fresh ideas, innovations, and new perspectives,” said Hon Prasad.
The Youth Leadership Contest, hosted by the India-Fiji Friendship Forum, is seen as a significant step in engaging the youth. The contest covers a wide range of subjects, including mathematics, logic, business, politics, economics, geopolitics, and international relations. Deputy Prime Minister Prasad commended the initiative as a platform for young Fijians to showcase their leadership skills.
DPM Prasad thanked the Indian High Commission for their political engagement and support for such initiatives. He expressed his belief in the wealth of wisdom and knowledge residing in the nation's youth and encouraged learning from their answers and questions during the contest.
The Youth Leadership Contest is poised to play a vital role in fostering the leadership capabilities of Fiji's young generation, ultimately contributing to the nation's growth and development.