REPORT FROM HPU – Senior Hawai‘i Pacific University leaders met with Brunei Ambassador to the United States Dato Yusoff Abd Hamid and Education Attaché Sofry Othman Thursday to explore student, faculty and research exchanges between HPU and Brunei organizations. The meeting was the first in what promises to be a mutually beneficial, reciprocal relationship between the university and the Southeast Asian nation.
Yusoff and Othman, both of whom travelled to Hawai‘i from Washington, D.C., discussed opportunities for partnerships that could expand the number of Brunei students studying abroad. They noted the many dimensions of Hawai‘i and HPU that might make this area an attractive university destination. They also touched on areas of focus for the Brunei government where HPU might have research or educational strengths, including food production, economic diversification, tourism and sustainability.
The delegation met with HPU President Geoffrey Bannister, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Brittain, Marketing and Communications Vice President Todd Simmons and Dean of Academic Advising and Student Achievement Joseph Barrientos.
“As we continue to increase the university’s engagement with APEC nations, it’s very beneficial to have the opportunity to sit down with partners such as our colleagues from Brunei and discuss our many points of intersecting interests,” said Bannister. “Our conversation with Ambassador Yusoff was very helpful in focusing our attention on areas of immediate potential and strategic possibilities of a longer-term nature.”
Brunei is a nation of 400,000 on the north coast of Borneo. It has been developing rapidly in recent decades, thanks in large part to extensive oil and natural gas fields that have helped to grow an economy that now boasts the fifth-greatest personal purchasing power of any nation in the world.
Its primary higher education institution is the University of Brunei. According to Ambassador Yusoff, the university’s students are interested in new opportunities to study abroad — a requirement for graduate students. Research partnerships, faculty exchanges and further collaboration are of keen interest, as well.
Yusoff and Othman toured the Downtown Campus following the meeting with senior university leaders.
Hawai‘i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with more than 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.