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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 6) – Academics have been invited to help the multi-party Cabinet in nation building.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase asked them to put their abilities and training at the service of the nation in ways that had never been done before.

He extended the invitation at the inaugural symposium on living together in a globalizing Fiji in Deuba yesterday.

"Within your ranks is a great pool of wisdom, learning, knowledge and expertise," he said.

"You employ that mostly in university teaching, research and writing.

"Will you work with me, Cabinet and the Government on building of Fiji?

"Will you put your abilities and training at the service of the nation like you have never done?"

Symposium organizer Dr Ganesh Chand said the purpose was to look at what was required for a peaceful co-existence.

"It's time to put our fear, aspirations of the people and anxiety on the table so we can openly discuss what we can come up with," he said.

"The mood set by the multi-party Cabinet has been overwhelmingly positive and it's now time for academics to contribute to the process of nation building."

Mr Qarase shared the view, saying the symposium was the latest sign of positive mood in the country since the multi-party Cabinet.

"People of all our communities have made it known that they want and welcome a co-operative, representative government," he said.

"They believe it is the start of a new age which will liberate Fiji from the bitterness and hurt of the past and take us into a golden future.

"That imagery might seem to be exaggerated. But is it? What is to stop us going forward together to share the country of our dreams?

"The answer is that we dare the obstacles to what might be through our human failings and limitations," he said.

[PIR editor’s note: According to online sources, Fiji has four schools of higher education and a literacy rate of higher than 95 percent.]

August 7, 2006

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