June 03, 2011

University of Guam: Lecture Series to Feature Deposed Fijian Prime Minister Tupeni Baba, FRIDAY June 8

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2011 10:23 Written by News Release Thursday, 02 June 2011 10:20


Guam - University of Guam President Robert A. Underwood presents the 12th lecture in his Presidential Lecture Series on June 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the CLASS Lecture Hall featuring Dr. Tupeni L. Baba, deposed deputy prime minister, senator, and minister of three democratically elected Governments in Fiji; academic and consultant and former professor of education. 

Baba’s presentation is titled, “Paradise in Turmoil:  20 years of Military Coups and Implications for Democracy and Development in Fiji”.

In Fiji, Dr. Tupeni Baba’s name is almost synonymous with the coups, not because he has anything to do with them, but because he  has been involved with all the three democratically elected Governments that have been overthrown by the coups  over the last 20 years, including the latest coup of Commodore Bainimarama of 2006. All the coups in Fiji have directly or indirectly involved the Fiji military; hence they have been referred to as military coups.

Dr. Baba served in the three democratically elected Governments in various capacities but he did not complete any of his terms because the three governments in which he served were all overthrown or deposed early or in midterm by the coups.

In the Government of Dr. Bavadra in 1987 which defeated the longstanding Government of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, he served as Minister for Education; in the Labour Coalition Government of Mahendra Chaudhary in 1999-2000 which defeated the Government of Mr. Rabuka, he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. In the Government of Mr. Qarase in 2006, he was a senator responsible for education and information. His appointment as Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York which was scheduled from January, 2007 at the behest of the last elected Government of Mr. Qarase, was also terminated by the current military administration which came to power through a military coup in December 2006.

Dr. Baba served with distinction as an academic and scholar for over 20 years at the University of the South Pacific (USP). At USP, he served in both university management, and as an academic. In the former, he was Dean of Administration and Personnel for two years. He was also the first regional or local university registrar at USP from the Pacific region and served 4 years in that post. In the Commonwealth or British system, the Registrar is the head of the Administration responsible to the Vice Chancellor (President) and the University Council.

Dr. Baba was appointed as Senior Research Fellow at The University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies for 4 years (2002-2005). He had a short attachment to Manchester University School of Education in the UK, and to the East West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program in Hawaii.

He has a BA Dip Ed from the University of New England in Australia, a M.Ed at The University of Sydney, and a PhD in Education from Macquarie University, Australia.

Dr Baba is here in Guam with his wife Dr. Unaisi Nabobo Baba who has a three-year contract with the University of Guam as an associate professor of education.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

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