Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Mori visits with the Participants in the 15th Close-Up Program organized by the National Department of Education

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 19, 2011 - This week, 35 FSM high school students are participating in the 15th Close-Up Program coordinated by the National Department of Education (NDOE). This annual program brings students from the four states of FSM to the capital to experience firsthand a unique "close up" observation on how elected leaders perform within the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and their decision-making process on critical issues affecting the lives of FSM citizens. This year's theme is "Nurturing Citizenship and Nationalism in a Democratic Society."

Yesterday, the students met with President Mori and had the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with him. The President was asked by one student what his thoughts were regarding foreign investment in the FSM. "Without foreign investment," said Mori, "we'll be running in circles chasing our tails." The President explained that the country needs "good" foreign investment that will principally support the nation's tourism industry and promote that industry without destroying the environment.

When asked by another student how the FSM could maximize the benefits of its fishing resources, President Mori warned the students that while it is true the country has one of the world's finest fish stock, the amount of that resource is limited. "First, we have to ban dynamite fishing," said Mori, "because we must preserve our corals." The President emphasized that his goal is to balance the need to conserve and sustain fishing resources, while rehabilitating environmentally-friendly processing plants which would allow for the creation of jobs domestically.

One student stated he felt there was a huge lack in FSM for training in certain skills such as construction, mechanics and engineering. Mori said he agreed with the student and believed that the college-level education system in FSM needs to be re-designed. The President mentioned that this was an issue he had raised in his inaugural speech, and affirmed that FSM needs to establish four-year college degrees giving prominence to vocational and technical training.

Throughout the discussions, President Mori repeatedly advised the students, amid their laughter, not to get married before they finished their college education. With a more serious note, he reminded them that the National government was in the process of increasing the availability of scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

"If you do decide to work in the public service sector," said Mori, in closing, "remember that you are serving the people, stay humble."

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356