Top Executive Conference Speakers (Part 5)
Hon. Premila Devi Kumar, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Industry, Trade and Tourism.
Hon. Premila Kumar was elected to the Fijian parliament in 2018 after her first run at public office, and was subsequently appointed as the country’s Minister for Industry, Trade & Tourism; Minister for Local Government and Minister for Housing & Community Development.
Ms. Kumar’s diverse professional life has spanned across industries and shaped her perspective, one that is driven by both the empowerment and protection of ordinary Fijians. Starting her career as a teacher, she quickly rose through the ranks of the education sector before transitioning to policy, serving as a Government environmental advocate, and later, an investment manager at Fiji Islands Trade & Investment Bureau (now Investment Fiji). She then moved on to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Council of Fiji, a leadership role that she held for over 12 years – rightfully earning her the reputation of a staunch consumer advocate throughout Fiji and the Pacific.
Ms. Kumar was honored with the Executive Woman of the Year Award in 2015 by Women in Business, and the Fiji Times named her Most Influential Woman of the Year in 2010. She has also served on various Boards and Committees.
Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.
Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa is the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for the Government of the Republic of Fiji.
She gained her law degree from the University of Tasmania, in Australia and received her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University in 1997.
During her tenure in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Ms. Vuniwaqa served in concurrent capacities as Chairperson of the Telecommunications Authority of Fiji, Chairperson of the National Working Group on Copyright and Chairperson of the National Anti-Money Laundering Council. After her 13-and-a-half years of service in Government, she started her own legal consultancy firm in Suva.
She contested the general elections in September 2014 under the Fiji First Party banner and secured a seat in Parliament. She was subsequently appointed the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources from September 2014 until 19th September 2016 when she became the new Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. She is passionate about the empowerment of women and their contribution to sustainable development in this day and age.
Hon. Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services.
Hon. Ifereimi Waqainabete is a Fijian politician and Member of the Par- liament of Fiji. He currently holds the portfolio of Minister for Health and Medical Services.
In the year 1996, Dr. Waqainabete did his Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at Fiji School of Medicine/ University of the South Pacific. In 2000, he did his Post Graduate Diploma in Surgery and in 2003 Dr. Waqainabete did his Masters in Medicine, Specialization: Surgery at Fiji School of Medicine.
Dr. Waqainabete is the President of Pacific Islands Surgeons Association and Member of Inter- national Society of Surgery.
- 2016- Sigmoid Volvulus in pregnancy: Clinical Case reports
- 2006- Talc Pleuridesis- Pacific Health Dialogue
- 2003- Neuropsychological Effects of Kava; Masters of Medicine Thesis 1997- Upper GI Bleeding at CWM: Fiji Medical Association Journal
Ms. Alison Burchell, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts.
Ms. Alison Burchell is Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts from 2018.
Education and Qualification:
- Bachelor of Social Science, Economics and Industrial Sociology, Univer- sity of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Certified Sports Professional, SportAccord, Switzerland.
- Qualified Facilitator and Trainer, Tourism, Hospitality, Sport, Recreation Education and Training Authority, South Africa.
- Qualified in Dispute Resolution, South African Sports Commission, South Africa.
- 2016-2018- Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth And Sports
2015-2016- Sport: 80 Services Limited, Sheffield, UK, Business Development Manager
- 2009-2014- International Table Tennis Federation, Lausanne, Switzerland, Director of Opera- tions
- 2007-2009- Sports and Recreation South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Chief Director 2001-2007- Disability Sport South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa, General Manager
Mr. Shaheen Ali, Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism.
Mr. Shaheen Ali has extensive experience and knowledge in the field of trade policy, trade negotiations, industry development, economic management, functioning of state owned enterprises, consumer pro- tection and competition laws and development policies for growth of micro, small and medium businesses. He is also thechief proponent for government for all trade negotiations that Fiji is party to, including trade and market access agreements that Fiji has concluded in the last decade.
Mr. Ali has a Master in Foreign Affairs and Trade, from Monash University. And his experience has enabled him to develop strategic partnerships with both public and private sector and communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
Recently, he has led the reviewand redesign of processes for starting a business and obtain- ing construction permits, in partnership with key agencies. For the first time, information has been brought online in a centralised portal for starting a business or construction per- mits. This portal will in at least 2 years become a submission and approvals portal for the business and construction licenses.