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Pacific News Minute: Pacific Island nation leaders gather for East-West Center conference

Sophia McCullough
Hawaii Public Radio

The leaders of Pacific Island nations have been invited to attend a conference this week in Honolulu. It’s hosted by the Pacific Islands Development program at the East-West Center.

The theme of the 12th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders is “Puʻuhonua: The Pacific Way Forward.” It’s being held Monday through Wednesday.

It will feature closed meetings and dialogues, as well as sessions, ceremonies, and side events open to the public.

The PICL is composed of 20 heads of government from independent Pacific Island countries, as well as territories and Hawaiʻi.

Fourteen PICL member nations plan to attend the conference, including the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Sāmoa, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Mary Therese Hattori, interim director of the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program, says the conference is important as the Pacific confronts critical issues such as climate change, the pandemic, industry diversification, and geopolitical challenges.

“In ways that are more organic to our island cultures, we are coming together and working toward a prosperous future for the Pacific and for Pacific Islanders," she said.

The Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders was founded in 1980 by Hawaiʻi Gov. George Ariyoshi and Fijian statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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