UN International Day of Families 2009

Day of Families Celebrated in Pohnpei

Pohnpei, Micronesia - Coinciding with the UN International Day of Families, UPF-Micronesia sponsored a one-day seminar for 45 participants at the Sea Breeze hotel in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Most guests arrived early and were greeted and treated with the traditional “Maramars” – a type of celebratory headdress – which is a normal adornment at most gatherings and special meetings.

Dr. Dong Woo Kim, Oceania Chairman of UPF and Rev. Greg Stone, Secretary General of UPF-Oceania, attended along with advisor, Rev. Jeong Soo Kim and volunteers from Japan – Mrs. Noriyo Watanabe, Mrs. Yukiko Oshima, and Mrs. Michie Kawamata.

Rev. Stone and Mr. Peteriko Hairens, a local Ambassador for Peace, gave the presentations for the seminar. Rev Stone’s presentations were given in English while Mr. Hairens gave spontaneous translation into the local Pohnpeian language. The lectures by both speakers were professionally delivered and full of deep and thought-provoking content.  Incoming UPF leader for Micronesia, Rev. Dong Soo Nham, was also in attendance for this event.

The theme for the conference was “One Family under God – A New Vision for Peace and Economic Security for Micronesia in the 21st Century.” As May 15 was a day to celebrate families, it was fitting that many of the presentations referred to the model of the ideal family. The family and extended family were familiar and acceptable norms.

Those in attendance included Iso Nahnken Salvador Iriarte, Chairman of UPF-Micronesia; Nahnpwutak Pikeniap Herculano Kohler, Nahmwarki of Sokehs and a Director of UPF-Micronesia; Iso Nahnken Jack Artui, Nahnken of Sokehs; the Hon. John Haglelgam, former President of Micronesia; Mr. Oliver Johnny, Commissioner for the Pohnpei Electoral Commission; Mr. Osaia Santos, National Youth Coordinator for Micronesia and Director of UPF-Micronesia; Pastor Charles Heam, Senior Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church; Mr. Pete Panuelo, Chief of Elementary Education, Pohnpei Department of Education; Ms. Emeliana Musrasrik, General Service Officer of the Peace Corps for all the Micronesian Region and Vice Chairperson of UPF-Micronesia; Mr. Mariano Martin, Youth Coordinator for Sokehs Municipality; Ms. Mary Berman, Attorney at Law; and Chief Justice Antonia Amor, also a Director of UPF-Micronesia. There were also a number of youth in attendance who represented the future of the country.

Even though Micronesia’s GDP remains at a low level, the greatest resource in this country is its abundance of youth. Combined with this reality, the pro-family ethics and traditional culture work together to create a harmonious society that has great potential for the future. Even though the “Compact Money” from the US will gradually decrease, there was optimism at the conference that this would be a necessary phase to gain full economic independence.

Ambassador for Peace awards were presented to Former President John Haglelgam, Pastor Charles Heam, and Nahlaimw Nett Higinio Iriarte for their services in the promotion of peace.

Special recognition was given to Nahnsou Jasper Dahker for his tireless work over the past three years on the Road Service Project, Dial-a-Ditch. During that period, Nahnsou had shown uncommon and consistent dedication to the promotion of the project of filling in potholes, resulting in dramatically increased road safety for all citizens of Pohnpei. The tribute was given by Rev. Michael Treacy (Luhkleng Nett), the outgoing leader for UPF-Micronesia.

The special evening dinner at the PCR Restaurant for invited guests was well attended and even over-subscribed. The feature of the evening was a traditional dance performance by a local group of around 20 children. They specialized in the Pohnpeian style of dance, which is very distinct from the popular Hawaiian style. The evening was a relaxing conclusion to a very busy day of activities.

To read UPF's Declaration on Families, click here.

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