More than 200 delegates represent the FSM at 12th Festival of Pacific Arts

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By Stephanie Jano Edward
Pohnpei and FSM Media representative
May 25, 2016
Guam—The 12th Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPac) officially opened on May 22, 2016 at the Paseo Stadium in Agana, Guam. Each delegation from the 27 participating countries entered the stadium one by one to perform a short traditional number and present gifts to Governor Calvo and the people of Guam in front of a packed stadium.
The FSM delegation entered by state, from east to west, with Kosrae leading the delegation, followed by Pohnpei, then Chuuk, and ending with Yap. Representatives from Pollap, Siis, and Ettal, outer islands of Chuuk were also part of the delegation. After FSM’s entrance, Chuuk and Yap gave short performances on behalf of the delegation. Senator Mihkel, 9th Pohnpei State Legislature, presented the traditional gifts to FSM President, His Excellency Peter M. Christian who then presented the gifts to Governor Calvo and Lt. Governor Tenorio. Floor Leader McGarry Mihkel, 9th Pohnpei Legislature, said that the FSM delegation showed great unity and displayed the essence of “one voice, one heart of one nation” to the other Pacific islands.

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To open the ceremony, Mr. Tim Ohno parachuted down into the middle of the stadium with the Guam flag, to the thunderous cheers and applause of all the spectators. After the parade of the countries, First Lady Calvo gave the welcoming remarks as the Honorary Chairwoman of the 12th FestPac. Following the welcoming, Ms. Leituala Kuniniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, Deputy Director of Gender, Culture and Youth Social Development Division for the Pacific Community (formerly known as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community), gave her remarks on the FestPac. Governor Calvo gave the keynote address, followed by a Cultural Performance by the youth of Guam called “the Creation”. Lt. Governor Tenorio gave the closing remarks, after which the Governor declared the opening of the 12th FestPac. The packed crowd was treated to a fireworks show accompanied by music from the Mt. Carmel Phoenix Stage Band. The participating countries include American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, the FSM, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Nauru, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Tong, Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, Taiwan, Tokelau, New Caledonia, Republic of Fiji, Tuvalu, Pitcairn, Republic of Vanuatu, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and Guam. Each country showcases their wares in huts built by the host country in anticipation of the FestPac. Mr. George Youngstrom, vendor in the Kosrae delegation and first time FestPac attendee said, “It has been a pleasure to be able to come to FestPac as participants and to be able to sell our products.” In only four days of the FestPac, they have just about run out of their locally-made banana chips, coconut oil, and lime sauce and have contacted their daughter in Kosrae to send more on the next flight out of Kosrae.
With a 200 +-member delegation, FSM boasts one of the largest delegations participating in this year’s FestPac. Over the next two weeks, they will be participating with traditional dancing, navigation, singing, traditional cooking, visual art, literary arts, and are showcasing local wares in huts built for each individual state of the FSM. “I feel proud of the selected representatives in the Pohnpei delegation because I feel they represented well,” said Ms. Lululeen Santos, Pohnpei delegation’s point of contact.
The packed schedule begins at 8 AM every morning, with performances and programs at several different locations. The day winds down at 8 PM with musical performances by musical bands from the participating countries in the Jamz House sessions, held in the Festival Village.
“The importance of this event is that we’re trying to share our culture with our Micronesian, Melanesian, Polynesian, and other participating neighboring nations, to broaden our understanding and appreciation theirs and in retrospect, have them understand and appreciate ours, as well,” said Governor Marcelo K. Peterson, Pohnpei State.