Samoan University lecturer wins intellectual award for traditional knowledge research

Fesolai Aleni Sofara accepting his award from WIPO in Geneva

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 11 DECEMBER 2018: The National University of Samoa lecturer, Fesolai Aleni Sofara is among the top 12 lecturers from around the world to win the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – Colloquium For Intellectual Property Lecturer 2017.

This places Samoa as the first Pacific island to win such a prestigious award according to the University.

Fesola’i teaches Law and Commercial Law in the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship at NUS.

Speaking to Talamua, he said his winning research paper was based on “Traditional Knowledge in Samoa- At Risk Of Being Lost and is published in WIPO’s journal in Geneva.

“The paper discusses the social-cultural importance of Samoa Traditional Knowledge and its vulnerability to commercial exploitation,” said Fesolai.

It further discusses the inadequacies of intellectual property laws in protecting Samoa traditional knowledge, a precious resource that is an integral component of the Samoa cultural identity.

“Such inadequacies if not addressed, could result in Samoa traditional knowledge being lost over time,” said Fesola’i.

Fesola’i Aleni accepting his General Researcher of the Year 2018 award from NUS Vice Chancellor Fui Professor Lau Asofou So’o last week.

Thirty eighty candidates from around the world submitted papers to WIPO but only 12 were selected, Samoa included.

He said the WIPO’s Colloquium for Intellectual Property Lecturer is always dominated by lecturers from Asia and the Middle East.

The Journal that publishes all the winning researches will be released this month in Geneva.

Other than the WIPO award, Fesolai also won the NUS Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award  last week where he  won the General Researcher of the Year 2018 award.

This award was based on the number of publications by a lecturer and Fesola’i has had papers published by NUS, two with the University South Pacific Fiji, one internationally and is currently working on the Nofotane paper.

His challenge to young lecturers is not to shy away from research.

Fesola’i holds a Diploma in Theology, LLB (Bachelor of Law) PDUP and LUM and his areas of interest in research including Theology Law, Human Rights, Administrative Law and Constitutional Law.