Hon. Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji
Dr. Jiko Fatafehi Luveni
Honourable Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji
Honourable Dr. Jiko Luveni became Speaker when she was elected to the position on 6 October 2014. Her appointment was a historic one as it was the first time in Fiji’s history that a woman was elected to the important position of Speaker of Parliament.
Dr. Luveni was among eight women candidates in the 2014 General Elections who won seats in Fiji’s new Parliament. She relinquished her seat when she was elected unopposed by Members of Parliament to be Speaker.
Looking at Dr. Luveni’s career, she graduated as the first woman dentist from the Fiji School of Medicine as well as from the University of Sydney. She served as a dentist in all Divisions in Fiji for 20 years with special interest in Public Health Dentistry. She was also a tutor in Public Health Dentistry at the Fiji School of Medicine.
In 1988, she worked as a Program management officer for the United Nations Population Fund. For 15 years she served various Pacific island countries. She took early retirement to enable her to focus on providing service for Fiji only.
Subsequently, Dr. Luveni worked as the HIV/AIDS Project Officer for the Ministry of Health for five years. In this role, she helped set up the organisation, Fiji Network for People Living with HIV and AIDS, that played an effective role in reducing fear and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS throughout Fiji.
Dr. Luveni had experience working as the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation for 8 years before the General Elections in 2014.
Since assuming her role as Speaker, Dr. Luveni has faced the challenge of promoting Parliament and the ideals of parliamentary democracy. For 8 years Fiji did not have a functioning Parliament and it fell on Dr. Luveni to take the leadership role in getting Fiji citizens re-engaged with Parliament. She has been instrumental in encouraging the Parliament secretariat to establish outreach and community engagement programmes such as the “Parliament Bus”, “Meet the Speaker”, and ‘Our S.a.Y’. Dr. Luveni has also taken the lead role in pushing for and encouraging women to enter national politics and prove that they can have an impactful contribution in Parliament and nation building. She has also become a champion for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, she has championed SDG 5 – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. During the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women held in New York in March 2016, Dr. Luveni stated that it was her hope that her journey, experience and commitment would inspire and empower more Fijian women particularly ordinary and rural women to contribute to the decision-making process and the country’s development.