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Hawaiian educators visit Victoria University

Victoria University's links with Polynesia look set to blossom with the visit to Wellington of the high-profile President of the University of Hawai'i, Dr Evan Dobelle.

Dr Dobelle will be in Wellington next week leading a high-powered delegation from the University of Hawai'i, during which time he will sign two agreements with Victoria while exploring opportunities for further collaboration.

Dr Dobelle will be welcomed to Victoria with an official powhiri at the University's Te Herenga Waka Marae on Tuesday 11 February. The delegation, which includes several indigenous Hawaiians, will respond to the Mâori welcome in the Hawaiian language.

During his visit, Dr Dobelle will sign an agreement establishing joint VUW-UH Master and Doctoral degrees in conservation biology as well as an agreement to facilitate student exchanges between the two universities.

He will also be involved in discussions to create greater links in areas such as Polynesian languages, culture and business and cross-cultural psychology, architecture, design and information technology. A special feature of these discussions will be the inclusion of Mâori and Hawaiian perspectives into subject areas.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the growing relationship would bring benefits to staff and students at both universities.

"The relationship with the University of Hawai'i is another example of Victoria's growing links with institutions throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The relationship will provide greater opportunities for staff to work on joint teaching and research programmes while allowing all to develop a greater understanding of the cultures of Polynesia, Hawai'i and New Zealand.

"The agreements build on a Memorandum of Understanding I signed in Hawai'i with our colleagues at the University of Hawai'i in November 2001."

Dr Dobelle has had a high-profile career in both education and politics. An international authority on urban and regional planning, before joining the University of Hawai'i, Dr Dobelle was president of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut; City College of San Francisco; and Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts.

He was twice elected mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and served as that state's Commissioner of Environmental Management and Natural Resources. He also served as the United States chief of protocol for the White House, with the rank of ambassador, under President Jimmy Carter.

The University of Hawai'i consists of three university campuses (Manoa, Hilo and West Oahu), seven community colleges, an employment training centre and five education centres spread across six islands. The university campuses have more than 21,000 students while the community colleges have more than 25,000 students.

Photo opportunities:

§ Tuesday 11 February 9.30-11.30am. Hawaiian delegation welcomed to Victoria University with powhiri at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Kelburn Parade, Wellington;
§ Wednesday 12 February 9.45am-11am. Dr Dobelle and Professor McCutcheon sign agreements on Conservation Biology and Student Exchanges at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Waiapu Road, Karori.

Background information on Dr Dobelle can be found at: www.hawaii.edu/admin/dobelle.html

Background information on the University of Hawai'i can be found at: www.hawaii.edu/welcome

Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Antony.Paltridge@vuw.ac.nz or phone
04 463 5873 or 029 463 5873

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