Published on 3rd July 2013
VSA has appointed Junior Ulu as its new International Programme Manager. He replaces Peter Swain who retired on June 21 after 13 years with VSA.
Junior, a New Zealand-born Samoan, will lead VSA’s international programme, which currently involves working with 140 in-country partners in the Pacific.
Junior is a former secondary school teacher who spent 18 months working as a locally engaged Development Officer at the New Zealand High Commission in Apia before starting work in VSA’s Wellington office in 2003. His first job with VSA was as Pacific Programme Officer, and in 2010 he became Manager of VSA’s Polynesia Programme.
His job required him to travel extensively throughout the Pacific, including to Samoa, where he carried out research for a Masters degree in Development Studies, looking at aid sovereignty in Samoa. He graduated with distinction in May this year.
Junior’s association with VSA goes deeper than simply being a staff member. His mother-in-law Lesley Schofield is a former volunteer who, as Lesley Waugh, went on assignment as a teacher in both Fiji and the Cook Islands during the 1970s.
“It’s great to have a personal connection to a returned volunteer who is always supportive of the work we do with our partner organisations,” he says.
VSA’s chief executive officer Gill Greer says Junior brings many strengths to his new role, including a deep understanding of development needs in the Pacific.
“Finding someone to replace Peter Swain was a big ask – he has made an invaluable contribution to VSA during his time here,” she says. “We were lucky to have someone so well qualified for the job already working on the staff. As several people have observed, Junior has big shoes to fill – but luckily he has big feet!”