Islands First Establishment Luncheon
23 April 2008
The Islands First founding luncheon was held in the United Nations Delegates Dining Room today. Hosted by H.E. Stuart Beck and the Palau Mission, the luncheon brought together representatives from ten Pacific Island nations in support of the new organization seeking to facilitate their ability, as H.E. Ms. Fekitalomea ‘Utoikamanu of Tonga put it, “to push our agenda when we work as a group, together.”
The representatives made remarks in turn, voicing the need for the institutional support that Islands First seeks to provide, as well as their concerns for the future if their voices are not amplified. H.E. Masao Nakayama of the Federated States of Micronesia spoke in no uncertain terms of the historic marginalization of Pacific islanders, first due to colonialism and war, and now as a result of climate change and environmental degradation. Nevertheless, the resolve to address such problems was hardly in short supply. In response to a reporter’s remark about the characteristic politeness of Pacific Islanders, H.E. Ms. Marlene Moses of Nauru pointed out:
"We are passive. We are polite. But when it comes to defending our interests at a national and regional level, we are very ferocious."
Representatives of major foundations and media representatives in support of Islands First were also in attendance.