In a momentous stride towards bolstering agricultural practices, optimizing yields, and ensuring food security, the inauguration of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali’s (UNISA) Faculty of Agriculture has garnered significant acclaim. This landmark move bears the potential not only to enhance agricultural productivity but also to uplift financially marginalized segments of society, all while aligning with the global pursuit of achieving zero hunger, an integral component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar’ Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, the revered Chancellor of UNISSA and the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, articulated this momentous development during the 13th UNISSA Hafl Al-Takharruj (Convocation Ceremony) held at the Berakas International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.
Commending UNISA for its distinguished accomplishment of being the sole domestic university featured in the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Ranking, the monarch underscored the institution’s commitment to the United Nations’ SDG Agenda, emphasizing its adaptability to contemporary demands and challenges.
Furthermore, His Majesty underscored the interconnectedness of poverty and food security, acknowledging the crucial role of nutritious sustenance in both physical and mental well-being. The monarch envisioned a healthy populace as a valuable workforce actively contributing to the nation’s progressive trajectory.
In conjunction with this initiative, UNISSA is playing a pivotal role in the collective endeavor to eradicate poverty within the country. Through extensive research endeavors, the university has been formulating effective strategies to alleviate impoverishment, elevate living standards, and facilitate the transition of affected communities away from the grips of destitution.
His Majesty also emphasized the global imperative of the SDGs, highlighting the obligation of each nation to actively contribute. He reiterated the Sultanate’s unwavering commitment to realizing these crucial objectives.
Among the 17 SDGs set forth by the United Nations, the monarch accentuated the paramount importance of poverty eradication. He illuminated the far-reaching implications of poverty across various societal dimensions encompassing health, well-being, safety, and education. While acknowledging that Brunei’s poverty situation is less severe than in many developing nations, His Majesty emphasized the necessity of addressing and rectifying this concern.
Rooting his perspective on Islamic principles, the monarch highlighted the shared responsibility for societal progress. Quoting the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, which underscored the imperative of addressing social disparities as integral to genuine faith, he expressed confidence in UNISSA’s capacity to address these pressing challenges.
On the academic front, His Majesty recognized the uniqueness of UNISSA’s Dual Degree program in Syariah and Law under the Faculty of Syariah and Law. This distinctive program sets UNISSA apart from other local higher education institutions and is seen as a competitive advantage.
To enhance impact and quality, the monarch proposed splitting the program into two distinct faculties: one for Syariah and the other for Law. This restructuring aims to optimize efficiency, specialization, and focus within each faculty, ultimately leading to more targeted course modules.
His Majesty emphasized the imperative for both faculties to produce graduates of exceptional quality in adherence to international standards. Particularly, the Faculty of Law was envisioned as a hub for comprehensive studies in both Syariah and Civil law, nurturing adept legal practitioners proficient in both domains. – By Rokiah Mahmud.