Utah Samoan community hosts 2018 Samoan Language Symposium
West Valley City, UTAH — Utahʼs Samoan community is honored to welcome His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Taʻisi Tufuga Tupuola Efi (former Prime Minister and Head of State of Sāmoa) and Her Highness Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese to Utah last week. As attendees of the 2018 International Samoan Language Symposium, Their Highnesses join a long list of distinguished participants including Professor Galumalemana Hunkin (renowned author of the Gagana Sāmoa textbook) and culture scholars from American Sāmoa, New Zealand, Hawaiʻi, and the continental USA.
The last Samoan Language Symposium was hosted by Le Fētūao Samoan Language Center at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa campus. The 2018 Symposium WAS held September 20-21 at Brigham Young University, with pre-conference activities at the University of Utah (September 18) and Utah Valley University (September 19).
The Samoan Language Symposium kicked off in royal fashion with a chiefly kava ceremony at the BYU Museum of Art on September 20, followed by plenary sessions and workshops at the Wilkinson Student Center from September 20-21. Keynote speakers -- HH Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Prof. Galumalemana Hunkin spoke on the conference theme: E Pala Maʻa, ʻae Lē Pala ʻUpu (“Even Stones Erode, But Words Never Decay”). There were presenters on Samoan language research as well as hands-on workshops that deconstructed and explained Samoan customs such as the ʻava ceremony, the sua presentation, and tattoo and tapa designs.
The Symposium concluded on Friday night with the Samoan Community Excellence Banquet that highlighted community educators, advocates, and service providers who promote excellence in Utahʼs Samoan communities.