26 Apr 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
OVER 200 officials from the CNMI, Guam, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap) are participating in the 23rd Micronesia Islands Forum at Fiesta Resort & Spa.
As host, CNMI Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres was elected chairman of the three-day forum, which opened Wednesday, April 25.
In his remarks, the governor said island officials are fully aware of their jurisdictions’ similarities in culture and history.
“But we are also cognizant of our shared limitations with economic viability, education, and healthcare as island nations due to our size and location,” he added.
“We recognize the fact that we have many problems and issues to address from invasive species to our relationship with the United States. Collective problems require collective solutions, and we are uniquely positioned to determine sustainable policies and reforms that would develop our economies successfully and provide resources for our region’s critical needs.”
The forum’s theme is “Navigating the World as One Micronesia,” which Torres said “truly symbolizes the spirit of this annual meeting. It shows that no matter who we are and where we come from, we are still a region connected by the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and a common set of ideals. Throughout these next couple of days, we will sit down and listen to one another and our constituents, as we come up with solutions that will benefit our jurisdictions as a whole.”
Torres said “as our world continues to evolve, our islands will continue to be affected by the constant trend of globalization. It is important that we as leaders dedicate ourselves to our collective mission of real action and true progress. We are tasked with a great responsibility, and it is up to us to develop a Micronesia that is ready for the challenges of the future and guided by our traditional principles. Our history as Micronesian people has always been enriched upon the foundation of inafa’maolek, which in Chamorro means ‘doing good for one another.’ As we work toward addressing our mutual concerns with collective solutions, may we continue to strengthen our family ties upon this concept of inafa’maolek as we navigate the world as one Micronesia.”
In an interview, the governor said it is important for island leaders to work together. “We should help one another — we share a lot of things in common, some of the other leaders who are here now grew up here like the lt. governor of Yap, James Yangetmai, who was also school teacher on Saipan for many years. I want to further strengthen those ties and relationships.”
Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, in a separate interview, said: “For me, it’s bittersweet. I’ve enjoyed and learned so much from this organization for over eight years, getting to know more of my island neighbors, working together on many issues.”
Calvo, who is in his second term, cannot run for another term in November. “It’s time for a new leader to be elected so this will be my last time to attend the forum as chief executive,” he said. “I will miss them but I will still attend future forums although not as chief executive.”
He said the forum is very important for the various islands of the region. “In my eight years as governor, these forums have been very productive. Two years ago, for example, we learned about WICHE [Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education] and its program that could reduce the costs of our students’ college education. Parents can now save thousands of dollars because of the discussions we’ve had in that forum.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103995-nmi-hosts-23rd-micronesia-islands-forum