Chancellor of the University of Seychelles returns from Singapore to attend Degree Ceremony
Mon, 12 December 2016 | Education
The Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, former President James Michel, returned from an international meeting on “Maritime Governance in South Asia: the Potential for Trade, Security and Sustainable Development” in Singapore in time to attend the annual degree awards ceremony that was held on Thursday at Anse Royale.
In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dennis Hardy, announced that President Michel had agreed to continue as Chancellor of the University. UniSey is the brainchild of the former President and the event this week reaffirmed the value of the project. Without our national university, many of those who received their awards might never have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in higher education. Each year, we get closer to the President’s original target of enabling at least one member of each household in Seychelles to have a university education.
At Thursday’s ceremony, the audience heard of the further widening of course provision, at postgraduate as well as undergraduate level. The quickening pace of research development was also highlighted, with the addition of two new research institutes, one in Creole Language & Culture and the other in Peace Studies & Diplomacy. The Vice-Chancellor also reported that the Chancellor had accepted an invitation to allow the institute devoted to the Blue Economy to be known in future as the James Michel Blue Economy Research Institute. This acknowledges the former President’s international reputation as a pioneering figure in promoting interest in the potential of the world’s oceans.
A feature of the ceremony was the inclusion of a delegation from the University of London, led by Dr Mary Stiasny, the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of International Programmes. Dr Stiasny spoke warmly of the relationship with the University of Seychelles and reminded the audience that the first Vice-Chancellor, Dr Rolph Payet, was a past student of the London institution and, significantly, a Nobel Prize winner for his work on Climate Change.
Another feature was to make the first awards of Honorary Doctorates. The first two recipients were Mr Bernard Elizabeth, for his tireless work for the community, and Mr Patrick Victor, renowned singer and songwriter and sometimes referred to as ‘the voice of Seychelles’.
But the day belonged to the new graduates, with many examples of outstanding performance. The Chancellor joined the ‘best performance’ students on stage for a group photo. Later, he also participated in a photo opportunity with the whole class of 2016.