Last week, the Micronesia Islands Forum (MIF) was held in Saipan.
At the same time, there was another forum held all the way in Palau. The Forum Economic Ministers Meeting or FEMM was held in Koror at about the same time.
The MIF was covered well by the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune , even offering a live streaming of the event on YouTube and Facebook. The FEMM was also covered well. Audio recordings of remarks made on the opening day are available on soundcloud. What is even more interesting was how they used the #FEMM2018 on twitter to collect pictures and tweets of the events from different contributors. Twitter is not as widely used in most Micronesian countries as Youtube and Facebook, so not as many people were following this event. Still, each event was covered through social media. Great coverage considering what we have available in Micronesia. But, we can do better.
You can read up on the FEMM at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s web page.
One of the outcomes of the MIF was the establishment of the Micronesian Regional Transnational Crime Unit, which was one of the issues discussed during the 17th Micronesian Presidents summit held last year. Good to see some progress.
The FEMM came up with an action plan that had numerous headings with titles like: FINANCING ECONOMIC RESILIENCE IN THE PACIFIC, The Pacific Resilience Facility and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Finance among many others.
Both meetings are important for our people. The spirit of friendship and cooperation in these meetings will help us in the coming years as we wean off compact funds. We are not the only country in the Pacific that is dealing with post-colonial issues. In fact, Guam is still a colony of the United States!
Our brothers and sisters across Micronesia, into Melanesia and Polynesia are all shaking off the effects of former Masters. It’s been a long and slow road for most of us. We need to foster these relationships through our memberships in the MIF, FEMM, PIFS, FFA, PNA and others. But most of all, we need to have transparency at the highest levels of government and positive support for what is going on on our behalf. What is the use of having membership in these organizations when our people are not being informed of their occurrences or even their outcomes?
Stay informed. Share information. You have a voice. Use it. Social media, facebook, twitter, youtube, Instragram…. these are all mediums by which you can share your views. Don’t underestimate the power of an informed public. Thomas Jefferson said ” A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny” and Albert Einstein said this about informed citizens, “We believe that an informed citizenry will act for Life and not for death”.
Here is an idea for our leaders and their staff to consider. Would it be possible to have public social media profiles of our Secretaries and their departments? I would normally rely on the Public Information Office for this, but if you look at their page, you’ll see that it has not been updated on a regular basis. Maybe use #Micronesia for all your social media posts? Just a thought. Using social media ensures a two-way conversation.
Have a great week. See you on my next blog or Podcast