Samoan King To Discuss U.S. Relations During UVU Visit
September 12, 2011
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Cheryl Kamenski (801) 863-6351
Note: Due to recent illness, this event has been postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Samoa’s head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi, will visit Utah Valley University Sept. 19 to discuss foreign relations between Samoa and the United States in addition to touring the UVU campus, enjoying entertainment from UVU performers and meeting the UVU women’s volleyball team.
“We are honored to have Samoa’s head of state here to engage with our students and faculty,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU International Affairs & Diplomacy. “Rarely do we have the head of a sovereign nation on campus, especially one from a community [Polynesian] that is so important to UVU and the state of Utah.”
Tupua will enjoy lunch with UVU academic staff and faculty while learning about UVU’s humanitarian projects in Samoa — the most recent being when UVU nursing students went to Samoa in June to teach parents and elementary students about the signs and dangers of strep throat and rheumatic fever.
“The Samoa Study Abroad program was an opportunity for UVU students to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Troy Nelson, who directed the Samoa program. “We want to make the screenings and education a long-term plan in Samoa because it will literally save lives.”
Tupua was elected as Samoa’s head of state in June 2007 following the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II, Samoa’s only head of state since independence from New Zealand in 1962. Tupua’s five-year term ends next year. Prior to becoming king, he served as prime minister for two terms and then as deputy prime minister.
“UVU students will hear firsthand the challenges a royal head of state faces in today’s rapidly expanding global economy,” Butler said.
Tupua’s address is free and open to UVU students and the public. It takes place at 3 p.m. in Sorensen Student Center, room 206b-c.
In addition to holding several academic and political posts, Tupua is a leading authority on Samoan culture, language and tradition and has published extensively in both Samoan and English.
Sam Atoa, UVU women’s volleyball coach, is Tupua’s nephew. He and the volleyball team will meet with the Samoan king during his visit.
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to nearly 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.