The Duchess of Sussex said the education of women and girls in developing countries was “vital” in her first speech of the royal tour.
Meghan addressed students at the University of the South Pacific on Wednesday and spoke of her struggle to finance her higher education and her “personal feeling of pride and excitement” when she studied for her degree.
She said: “I am also fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world – myself included.
“It was through scholarships, financial aid programmes and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition, that I was able to attend university.”
Calling higher education’s impact “incredible, impactful and pivotal”, she added: “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive.
“And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital. Providing them with access to education is the key to economic and social development.
“Because when girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but also for those around them.”
The duchess announced two grants for the Fiji National University and the University of the South Pacific, allowing each of them to run workshops to empower their female staff.
She said: “This means that female faculty members are able to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and enter higher education, and that more women become part of the decision-making process in academic institutions.
“Grants like this ensure that women are provided with the training and skills to operate effectively in their roles, and those with leadership potential are given the opportunity to be heard and recognised at the most senior level.”