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2017 Stars of Oceania

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa [Samoa Observer]
Good leaders lead, great leaders heal
Source: Univ. of Hawaii Pacific Busiess Center Program

For the first time since it was inaugurated in 2006, the Stars of Oceania is being hosted outside of Hawaii.

The 2017 Stars of Oceania event will be held in American Samoa, Wednesday, October 04, 2017 at the H. Rex Lee Auditorium in Utulei, 6:00-8:30. Registration starts at 5:30. With the exception of tables reserved for sponsors and donors, attendance is open to the public at no cost with open seating and no host refreshments available.

“The event is not a fundraiser. Its purpose is to recognize, honor and appreciate excellence in leadership by Pacific Islanders and long term residents’ for their service to the people of Oceania and communities at large they live in” stated UH Pacific Business Center Program Director, Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio, the primary organizer of the event. “The public, women and aspiring young leaders in particular are invited to share in the honoring of leadership exemplified by moral courage, resilience, sacrifice, devotion, healing and triumph.” Qualities held aloft by the giants of national and global healing such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa (1918-2013) and closer to home, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, who in 1929 was assassinated leading a peaceful protest against New Zealand’s rule over Samoa.

Special gratitude is extended to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and administration in providing the H. Rex Lee Auditorium as the venue for the 2017 Stars of Oceania event enabling the Stars of Oceania to be moved from Hawaii to American Samoa. Having the highest female cabinet appointments in American Samoan history and one of the highest in the region is a compelling example of women in leadership roles.

The event, promotes the Stars as role models and inspirations towards positive achievement. Additionally, the 2006 inaugural event established a scholarship program for Pacific Islands students attending the University of Hawaii with the first Stars of Oceania being awarded in 2007. As echoed through history, education is the most powerful force that can change the world.

American Samoans to be recognized at the 2017 Stars of Oceania awards include a Posthumous Award for the late Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin. The other distinguished daughters and sons of American Samoa serving the public good are Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Congressional Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman-Radewagen, and US Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao Pula.  Due to congressional demands of the US Congress currently in session, Congressional representatives Tulsi and Aumua Amata are sending videos to feature their greetings and remarks. Director Nikolao Pula will be present and be recognized.  The invocation will be conducted by Parish Faletua Leone Ripley-Ulu, of the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano ei Amerika Samoa

This year, the focus of the 2017 Stars of Oceania is on leaders of inspiration and accomplishment primarily women. The leadership theme of this year’s Stars of Oceania is: 'Triumph Through Resilience and Healing; GOOD LEADERS LEAD, GREAT LEADERS HEAL.’ The theme underscores the nobility and strength of women to overcome challenges and to rise above self-limiting doubts to achieve their potential. It promotes actions so that women do not live in fear, intimidation or discrimination. The theme also draws from the cultural wisdoms of ancestors that point to healing and leadership as gifts to those willing to accept the responsibility with the moral courage to do the right thing.

There will be three compelling talks that evening. Dr. Joanne Preston will deliver the opening keynote. She has worked with many distinguished leaders over the decades including the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa of Poland and the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Both historical symbols of resiliency, healing and Triumph. This will be followed by a cultural presentation by Ipu Avegalio Lefiti, of the sacredness and values associated with the Samoan Taupou that has received widespread national and local acclaim. The cultural presentation reaffirms the words of Nelson Mandela, that, ‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” The closing remarks for the event will be by the Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, a traditional and modern leader of her government of Samoa who is one of the most respected and recognized women leaders from Oceania in the world.

Honorees to receive a 2017 Stars of Oceania award are:

In person acceptance:

  • Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, Deputy Prime Minister, Government of Samoa
  • Nikolao Pula, Director Office of Insular Affairs
  • Kahu Reverend Dr. Fran Palama, community development and business leader. Hawaii

Video presentation in lieu of attendance:

• US House of Representatives Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard. Hawaii (Video Presentation)

• Her Excellency Dr. Hilda Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Republic of the Marshall Islands (Representative of RMI Government)

• Honorable Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, American Samoa Congressional Delegate to the US House of Representatives. American Samoa. (Video Presentation)

• Hokulea Captain Pomai Kalani Bertelmann and Hokulea Master Navigator Ka’iulani Murphy. Hawaii (Video Presentation)

• Lavinia Kaumaitotoya, of the Pacific Islands Farmers Organization Network. Fiji (Video Presentation)

Institutional Awards

Two Stars of Oceania Institutional awards will be conferred to research and agriculturally based organizations promoting self-reliance, regional collaboration and sustainable development in the Islands. These institutions are Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS); and the Pacific Islands Farmers Organization Network (PIFON), Fiji.  The Honorable Fiame N. Mata'afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa will receive the award on behalf of SROS. PIFON Board member Mrs Serenia Madigibuli of Fiji will receive the award on behalf of PIFON.

Posthumous Awards

The Posthumous awards are in honor of the late Honorable Faleomavaega F. Eni Hunkin, Congressional Delegate from American Samoa, U.S. House of Representatives, Congress of the United States of America, Washington D.C. High Chief and Senator of Leone village, Fa’ivae will accept the award on behalf of the Fa’ivae aiga and the village of Leone.

A delegation from the Northern Marianas Islands led by Representative Ivan Blanco of the CNMI Legislature and Mr. Stanley Tapuaialupe Iakopo, Executive Director of the Civil Military Liaison Office under the Office of the Governor of the CNMI will accept the posthumous Stars of Oceania award on behalf of the CNMI people for the late Honorable Eloy Songao Inos, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Saipan.

The Stars of Oceania is driven by a compelling vision to bring a message of inspiration, resilience, triumph and healing by some of the most amazing women leaders and individuals Oceania has gifted to the people of the Pacific and beyond. Join in the celebration of the 2017 Stars of Oceania; Wednesday, October 04, 6:00-8:30, at the H. Rex Lee Auditorium.