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When all good things come to an end.

It has been a long and adventurous journey in China. Following five weeks of unswerving lectures, practical workshops and field visits, participants have successfully completed the training on Paper Cutting and Traditional Folk Handicraft Production for Developing Countries 2017.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and organized by the International Exchange Centre (I.E.C) of Yangling Demonstration Zone, it is time to bid farewell not only to the host country but to colleagues from attending countries who have shared this experience with us.

The Deputy Secretary General of Yangling Demonstration Zone, Mr. Bai Hongwei in his keynote address congratulated the participants for having completed the course. “I urge you all to apply the lessons learned in China to further promote cultural programmes as an investment in your own countries.”

Among the guests who attended the closing ceremony included Ms Cui Zhiwei, Inspector of Shaanxi Women’s Federation, management and staff of I.E.C as well as the media.

Participating countries at this training course included Dominica, Jamaica, Seychelles, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe as well as the largest delegation from Panama.

A big faafetai to the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Wang Weufeng and his Good Lady as well as his staff for organising our group travel. 

Returning the favour of acknowledging the assistance of the People’s Republic of China, I was invited to say a few words on behalf of the group. The following text was delivered during the closing ceremony which sums up our month long stay in China:

Caption: Group photo; Closing







Ni hao! Good Morning and Hola!

I am humbled to be given this special opportunity to reminisce on our journey on behalf of participants of the Training on Paper Cutting and Traditional Folk Handicraft Production for Developing Countries 2017.

It has been a wonderful and amazing intercultural and architectural experience sharing knowledge, skills and attitudes from each country alongside China’s expertise in paper cutting and traditional folk handicraft production.

When I say architectural experience, each participant was not only introduced into the history of many forms of art but this training has taken us to communities where such practices are the lifeblood of the Chinese people.

For this group, each participating country will take away new ideas, knowledge and skills to be applied in their respective fields. What comes next will be at the discretion of each individual but at least to this day, we are here as one voice to acknowledge the huge contribution by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

Five weeks of training is a lifetime experience for the participants. For some, this is their first time in China. For some, this is one of their many trips and still fascinated by the growing social and economic development of China.

Yangling has been our home throughout this training. Most of us would miss this place, the three course meal every day at this beautiful hotel, the gym (for some), the housemaids, tour guides, hotel staff and our hangout place outside uncle’s shop at the park.  So, thank you to the officials of the Yangling Demonstration Zone.

Coming from different backgrounds with different perspectives, I can only say (on behalf of the group), that we have not only learnt about China’s culture through its wonderful and friendly people, lectures and activities but we have also learned about the cultures of other countries present in this room. 

Bringing together people of various backgrounds who hold different perspectives is not an easy job.  Therefore we must acknowledge the hardworking staff of the Yangling International Exchange Center.

To Lily, Daisy and Troy – you deserve a pat on the back and let me say, congratulations for a job well done.  Thank you very much for your patience whenever there are questions.  It is not always easy to manage and coordinate such events. We learned in this journey that there are many Very Impatient People (V.I.P’s) in China, but you three have been Very Patient putting up with us day and night – especially Troy.  No more will you hear anyone calling you “Troy please, Troy where are we going? Troy what is this and what is that? We will miss you three and we will miss China”.

Last but not the least – to all participants, thank you for the friendships we have developed since day one.  Until we meet again. Safe travels back home and God bless.

Most importantly, to the organisers, if the words we had said or actions had been inappropriate, let me also take this opportunity to convey our sincere apologies.  As the saying goes “Let bygones be bygones” “Forgive and forget and start anew”.


Xie Xie, Thank you, Gracias.

Being in China for a full month being taught with unpretentious and simple artistic Chinese skills in paper cutting and producing handicrafts has been rewarding.

With two more weeks to go, the National University of Samoa (NUS) team representing Samoa at the Training Course on Paper Cutting and Traditional Folk Handicraft Production for Developing Countries surely have learned the basic skills needed.

THANK YOU: Fa’amausili Paletuatoa Toelupe acknowledging Xi’an Peihua University President and Chairman, Mr Jiang Bo

They can then tailor to suit and enhance knowledge on existing curriculum and apply skills acquired through classroom practices. As much as I would like to expand on how the training outcomes will be put into practice in media and journalism education, it all comes down to meeting the basic resource demands and fill in the pieces to where it best fits.

In this fast growing technological era where everything is becoming digital (with relevant software that can be bought online) to create the most fascinating or rather appropriate plain backdrops for a basic student television production, spending time to place those designs on paper and start cutting would be the least considered option for journalism educators and learners.

Unless for instance, a learning outcome is integrated in the television course for students to create their own backdrops using unique Samoan designs such as the ‘tatau’ or ‘siapo’, either on paper (a cheaper option) or stencil. 

It is worth exploring with of course, looking elsewhere for funds to acquire items such as (the right) scissors, thin coloured papers and glue.

Having a team of lecturers from other faculties such as the Teacher Education Department, on this trip, is a bonus.

For Laeimau Peru Tugaga, who teaches Food and Textiles, she is appreciative of new ideas that could be shared with training teachers whom will continue teaching children in primary schools as part of their teaching methods.

“The fashion industry is growing in Samoa and so as the cultural designs now increasingly becoming more modern,” Laeimau said.  “The art of cutting paper designs is still being practised today by some tailors whereas most no longer consider it an art, instead, cutting materials according to measurements that would either be accurate or not.”

Learning the knowledge and skills from where it started has been an exquisite experience for Laeimau.  This week, she was rewarded with a paper cut masterpiece as one of the four first prize getters whose sample artworks had impressed the trainers.

Caption: Laeimau Peru Tugagga with her prize from the organisers.

The opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge about preservation of Chinese culture through folk arts is an exceptional experience for me in this trip.

Switching backgrounds from journalism to learning and producing folk handicrafts on site was challenging for me in the first week.  I could still get it if I keep on practising.  I would definitely need time.   

Aside from my previous media training trips to China mainly covering for the news outlets I was working for or learn about theoretical and metropolitan views of the media worldwide, taking the classroom to the rural areas and workshops have been unique for this training.

More than fifty participants heard from professors in paper cutting, clay sculptures, dough modelling and rock painting over the last two weeks in Yangling and Xi’an Cities in Shaanxi Province.  A province that ‘is well known for making some of the most beautiful paper arts’ as noted by the founder of Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Phoebe A. Hearst at the University of California.


The group was also taken aback with an Art Gallery housed at China’s oldest and privately funded higher education institution, the Xi’an Peihua University.  Its main campus located in Xi’an (the capital city of Shanxi province), has an eight storey modern library with 2 million books in store which are also available in digital form.  It is open 24 hours a day especially to its postgraduate students with a wifi connection enabling students to connect to its databases and conduct research anywhere, on campus.


The university President and Chairman of Board of Directors, Mr Jiang Bo, welcomed the participants and took a two hour tour with the group. Dr Jiang is the fourth and youngest President in his family who took over from his grandfather. Investing millions of dollars in education is money well spent, according to Mr Bo. “My family believes in educating China by providing the most convenient learning environment for the young people who will eventually become great leaders and give back to the community.”


This week’s session will be shifted to China’s present city of Beijing for three days.


Presenting one's culture and history through paper cutting and production of folk handicrafts is an art in itself that anyone would need all the available resources to produce it. You would most probably have to have an eye of producing the most authentic and innovative techniques to advance in such a creative industry.

Paper cutting is one of China's most popular forms of decorative art that appeared during the Han Dynasty in 4th century AD after the Chinese official, Cai Lun invented paper in 105 AD.  Centuries later, it then spread to other parts of the world with countries and regions adopting their own cultural styles. Its origin derived from cutting patterns for rich Chinese embroideries and later developed into a folk art.

The production of these two forms of traditional art making have made China's ancient history more sustainable and have become one of the most successful exports for Shaanxi province alone.  Considered to be famous in traditional folk handicraft production, especially in paper cutting and shadow puppet; the International Exchange Centre in Yangling city, has reached out to developing countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific through a four week training course on paper cutting and traditional folk handicraft production.

Samoa is represented by a seven member delegation from the National University of Samoa (NUS) consisting of lecturers from the relevant faculties in Arts, Education, Business and Entrepreneurship.

Caption: NUS Team in China (l-r): Muliagatele Dr Rasela Tufue-Dolgoy (Senior Lecturer, Education Department),Laeimau Peru Tugaga (Teacher Education Lecturer), Faamausili Paletuatoa Toelupe

(Lecturer, Department of Management, Tourism and Hospitality),Matatumua Maluiao Leua Latai (Senior Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education),

Rosaiviti Solomona (Music Technical Assistant) and Cherimoniva Wright (Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education).

Currently underway in Yangling city, a Demonstration Zone just outside of Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, the International Exchange Centre (I.E.C) is coordinating this training designed for participants to exchange and discuss the national folk arts in their own countries or the acquired folk arts based on their learning and visits across Yangling city and Shaanxi province.

Furthermore, participants will be able to enhance their friendly exchange with other developing countries and ultimately to apply their acquired practical techniques and skills in folk arts to promote the industry advancement in this field of their respective countries.

NUS participation at this training will hopefully introduce new ideas into using available resources that would require minimal spending from its stretched budget to implement project based assessments and activities in classrooms.

"I heartily wish to thank the Government and the good people of China for organizing such a training program.For us we welcome initiatives of this magnitudebecause it serves as a way of learning and exchanging ideas with people we meet within the creative industries," Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts, Ms Leua Latai told the gathering during the opening ceremony this week. "Thisis very timely and appropriate due to its relevance at this point of our various national developments."

Ms Latai, who has worked in the university showcasing students' artwork for close to 10 years, is optimistic that this training will come up with ways and low resourced means of recycling waste particularly paper, to assist attending participants from six developing countries. The training course will also present the participants with Chinese culture, history and making of paper cutting, history and production of clay sculpture, fabric embroidery, gongs and drums making, folk-arts of Central Shaanxi, women entrepreneurship and its significance. "It will go a long way to create employment opportunities, awareness in environmental protection which will help in waste management thereby ensuring hygiene and sanitation as well as encourage women entrepreneurs," Ms Latai added. 

"Furthermore, due to cultural diversity, this training will incorporate Chinese culture into African, Caribbean and Pacific culture thereby encouraging cultural diversity. We believe our time here in China will offer us the opportunity to gain from the Chinese experience and expertise in developing our various capacities that will enable us to createmeaningful impact in our developing countries."

For a better command of paper-cutting and folk handicrafts making technique, the participants will visit Qianyang Xinxing Handicrafts Cooperatives, Fengxiang Clay Sculpture Workshop, Xunyi Ku Shulan Paper Cutting Gallery, Wugong Xinxiu Embroidery Cooperatives, Liquan Yuanjiacun Village, Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum, Women's Culture Museum of Shaanxi Normal University and a visit to more sites in Beijing.

About I.E.C.

Serving the international issues relevant to Yangling, the only state-level agriculture hi-tech industries demonstration zone in China, Yangling I.E.C, founded in 1997, is an institute under the jurisdiction of the local government specialised in managing international agriculture exchanges and training programs. 

The Centre boasts of a dynamic staff community talented with team spirit and foreign languages command, and a consultant panel with the honorable involvement of authoritative experts and professors in relevant orientations of agriculture; combining of the two attained fruitful experiences in multilateral and bilateral international cooperation programs implementation and foreign-aid technique services. In recent years, supported by the enriched education and research provisions and talents superiorities from the two universities, 15 key provincial and ministerial laboratories, 18 national, provincial and ministerial research centres and engineering centers locally located, Yangling I.E.C has energetically assumed the duty of national foreign-aid workshops in dry-land farming, water-saving irrigation, soil and water conservation and environment control, variety breeding, agricultural management and technology extension. 

About 1200 ministerial principals, agri-technicians, and research and teaching specialists from 100 countries have presented in more than 57 sessions of the hosted foreign-aid training workshops.

It was in August 2011 when the China AID Dry-land Farming Technology Training Centre was officially launched in Yangling Demonstration Zone authorised by the Ministry of Commerce, P.R.C.

Caption: Some members of the NUS delegation in Yangling City, Shaanxi - CHINA




For the past few weeks, the International office has been hosting a Staff Mobility from Poland, Mrs. Joanna Denkowska from the Silesian University of Technology (SUT) who arrived on the 29th of May. Mrs. Denkowska has since been working with the International Coordinator, Iliganoa Matuu and is expected to return to Poland on the 21st June.

Mrs. Denkowska was selected under the CARIBU Project for one month staff mobility to NUS to work in the International office. CARIBU is an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 (EMA2) partnership program that aims at increasing academic mobility, research and capacity building opportunities between 8 EU universities (Belgium (2), Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Poland, Portugal, Romania) and countries from the ACP region (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Gambia, Ghana, the Bahamas, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Samoa). The project has been funded with support from the European Commission and is devoted to creating a mutual forum for scientific cooperation, learning enhancement and exchange of best practices.

Mrs. Denkowska being the Head of the International Mobility Office of SUT has given NUS a unique opportunity to work together with a professional whose responsibilities includes all aspects of International Cooperation.  Although the Erasmus Mundus Program (CARIBU Project) has come to an end, it is through this staff mobility and with the network gained from EU and ACP partners that NUS hopes to strengthen international cooperation and inter-institutional cooperation.

According to the NUS International Coordinator, it has been a very productive and positive opportunity to be working alongside Mrs. Denkowska through the exchange of best practices, mutual sharing of knowledge and discussing possibilities for future collaborations.

Mrs. Denkowska has been able to learn about the HE system in Samoa, learn about scholarship opportunities available to NUS students and staff, and to propose the possibility to develop cooperation and capacity building opportunities between the two universities.

Also this time last year, NUS hosted a staff mobility from Romania, Mr. Serban Meza from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. Mr. Serban worked closely with the IT and Multimedia department and also shared best practices and presented a workshop on “Tools for creating multimedia content at the National University of Samoa - the Adobe after Effects platform” and also held a seminar entitled “Using ICT in Higher Education. Developing ICT Skills for University Professors - the Romanian experience in the project”

In addition under the CARIBU Project, three NUS students, Robert Ugapo, Wanda Pau, and Rosanna Sua were able to study in Belgium for a 10 month exchange at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and returned to Samoa and graduated this year in April with their Masters in Education. There are two NUS staff members, Pauline Lee Hang and Victory Utumapu Milford currently studying under the CARIBU Scholarship for their full time Master’s Degree at VUB and are expected to complete within this year.

The CARIBU project has proven to be very effective and has had a positive impact for students and staff of the National University of Samoa.

Caption: from left to right. Iliganoa Matuu, Cheri M Robinson Moors, Mrs. Joanna Denkowska


The NUS Corporate Plan 2017-2018 (NUS, 2016), as part of Pillar2 on Teaching and Learning under Strategic Objective 3 Activity 2.3.1 states the need to “develop creative learning spaces and ICT to support and drive pedagogy”. One such innovative use of ICT to support and drive pedagogy was demonstrated on Tuesday 9th May at the Fale Samoa, NUS when the Innovation team from the Faculty of Science presented on the use of drones in higher education. The presenter Ms Tara Patu from the Computing department initiated the presentation with a simple explanation of what a drone is, its features, followed by examples of general uses and applications of the drone. The discussion then narrowed to some specific uses of the drone in education with such examples as:

  • aerial surveys
  • aerial maps
  • data collection in field trips
  • campus planning and campus advertisement

The presentation concluded with a live demonstration of the drone and its features.

The presentation by the Innovation team is part of the Faculty of Science Open and Distance Learning team (ODL) series of seminars and workshops on the use of technology-enabled learning, and is part of the NUS initiatives to promote teaching and learning and its delivery through ICT. Earlier seminars and workshops included those on:

  • instructional design on website design, and power point animation
  • technology workshops on the use of the Aptus, Open Systems, Google sites, Skype, Zoom and Moodle Learning Management System. 

The remaining seminars of the Innovation series will include:

  • the use of Raspberry Pi technology for educational purposes
  • Arduino technology
  • Demonstration of interactive Smart Boards

The current series of workshops and seminars have been funded from Education sector funds.

Caption:INNOVATION Team: top, from left to right: Namulau'uluJoseph Namulau'ulu, 

Mose Mose, Asc Prof Muagututi'a Ioana Chan Mow, Fo'ilagi Maua-Faamau, Vensel Chan

bottom, left to right: Ierome Tupuola, Tara Patu,Auimatagi Misioka Tanielu

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