Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Mori meets 25 Visiting Students from Saint Olaf College, Minnesota

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 21, 2011 - This week, 25 students from Saint Olaf College, in Minnesota, U.S.A., visited the state of Pohnpei, as part of their "Health and Culture of Oceania" class curriculum. St. Olaf is an American liberal arts college of the church in the Lutheran tradition and was founded in 1874.

Their one week program in Pohnpei included a visit of the Nation's capital, Palikir, and of the State Public Hospital, a tour of the Nan Madol ruins, a snorkeling excursion and a fun day at Kepirohi Waterfalls.

During their visit of Palikir, the students, accompanied by their Assistant Professor, Neil MacNaughton, were pleasantly surprised by an impromptu gathering with President Mori. The President gave the students a warm welcome to FSM and spent time with them explaining the diplomatic and political ties between FSM and the U.S., based on the Amended Compact Agreement between the two countries (the "Compact").

Mori explained that pursuant to the Compact, the FSM receives annually USD79 million from the U.S. and that the agreement outlines fixed percentage amounts to be allocated to specific sectors, such as health, education and infrastructure. The President suggested that some thought should be given to allow for variations on the percentages allocated to each sector, depending on the needs of the country which vary from one year to the next.

When asked what major cultural changes he has seen taking place in FSM, President Mori stated that, partially as a result of the Compact, the country has transitioned from a subsistence economy to a cash economy, but that the country may not have been well-equipped to deal with the transition.

"Our lifestyle has changed," said Mori, "we now buy processed foods, instead of climbing trees to get breadfruit or coconuts. This is causing us to suffer from diabetes, heart problems and other serious non-communicable diseases."

Following their meeting with President Mori, the students attended a brief portion of the ongoing Sixth Regular Session of Congress and then pursued a visit to the College of Micronesia. Prior to their visit to Pohnpei, the students spent a week visiting the State of Kosrae.

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