Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Pohnpei Hosts 2nd Micronesian Traditional Leaders Conference

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): July 12, 2002 - The traditional leaders of the Micronesian islands are assembling on Pohnpei for the 2nd Micronesia Traditional Leaders Conference, July 15 - 18.

Pohnpei will be host to over 100 officials and traditional leaders from the Micronesian islands of the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru and the Republic of Palau.

The Conference is held every three years and offers a forum for the traditional leaders to reaffirm the roles and values of culture and tradition in the Micronesian Islands. It also provides a common ground for government and tradition leaders to collaborate on community issues such as health, education and the preservation of the environment.

According to Midion G. Neth, Deputy Secretary of Health, Education and Social Affairs, the Conference provides a means for reaffirming the co-dependency of the two systems of leadership in Micronesia. He said, "This Conference provides a means of balancing the roles of government and tradition in our societies."

Neth explained the need to maintain both of these systems, saying, "Traditions and cultures are central features of Micronesian life. They are the plurality that defines each island and the solidarity that unites the Micronesian people.

While our governments' endeavor to develop the Micronesian islands to be compatible with the international community, our traditions provide a foundation of reference to appreciate who we are and what we have been blessed with."

The Conference, according to Neth, provides the forum to reaffirm, strengthen and preserve the Micronesian cultures, traditions and customs in view of the rapid onset of globalization in the Pacific region.

Accordingly, the theme for this year's conference is, "The Role of the Traditional Leaders in the New Millennium."

The traditional leaders will discuss issues that include:

  • "Peoples Rights in a Traditional System of Government";

  • "Conflicting Interests between Traditional System and the Introduced System of Governments Toward Upholding and Preserving Tradition and Cultural Heritage;" and

  • "Impact of the Introduced System of Government on Traditional Natural Resources."

The Conference main working session will be held at the Chambers of the Pohnpei State Legislature, with other activities scheduled at several key places in and around the communities.

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