Friday, July 9, 2010

29th Annual International PIBBA Conference Memorable

Pictured above: PIBBA participants from Guam and Pohnpei are ready to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 29th Annual International PIBBA Conference at the RMI International Conference Center on June 22, 2010. Pictured front row L-R: Shelten G. Neth, Frances Sablan, Julia Shore, Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera, and Jacqueline Hazen. Back row: Nelsin Iriarte, Koshy Reuney, Dr. Arlene S. Diaz, and Marie Salas.

Pictured above: PIBBA recipients for the Teacher of the Year and Pioneer of the Year were awarded on June 24, 2010.

Pictured above: PIBBA participants show off the coconut-weaving artifacts they made, as part of the presentation titled, Using Coconut Weaving in Guam Classrooms to Improve the Language Arts and Mathematics Skills of Local Students presented by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Kos Reuney, ESL Coordinators from the Guam Department of Education.

Pictured above: PIBBA presenters prepare themselves for their scheduled presentations. Pictured L-R: Dr. Greg Tainatongo, Kos Reuney, Dr. Sharon Nelson-Barber, Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera, and Julia Shore.

Pictured above: The Majuro Atoll Local Government Choir perform during the PIBBA Conference Opening Ceremony held June 22, 2010 at the RMI International Convention Center.

Pictured above: Marshall Islands Choir and Special Education Students perform during the PIBBA Conference Opening Ceremony held June 22, 2010 at the RMI International Convention Center.

Pictured above: Pohnpei presenters pose during their Values Behind Proverbs workshop. Pictured L-R: Maria Donre, Nelsin Iriarte, and Rickson Higgins.

Pictured above: Jaqueline Hazen from the Island Research and Education Initiative (IREI) introduced several sets of bilingual books developed in collaboration with local educators and linguists in the four states of FSM. Pictured L-R: Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera, Nelsin Iriarte, Hazen, and Kos Reuney.

The 29th Annual International Pacific Islands Bilingual Bicultural Association (PIBBA) Conference was filled with cultural excitement that has left a lasting impression for all participants from across the Pacific region! The conference theme, “Reviving the Languages and Cultures of the Pacific – Kubwij Buni Eo” was highlighted in each of the conference days from June 22-25, 2010 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Each day featured the gathering of participants presenting cultural presentations, songs, and entertainment. Of course, the conference also highlighted PIBBA’s song, which includes all the languages of the region, such as the following chorus: “Iokwe, Raan Annim, Kaselehlia, Alii, Aloha, Olomwaay, Hafa Dei, Tuwoh, Mogethin, Talofa.”

Among the entities that attended the conference are Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, Chuuk, CNMI, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Yap, and Guam. The mission of PIBBA is to bring these entities together to promote cultural and language activities by disseminating information, involving communities, and encouraging quality education programs through the western Pacific.

The first night of the PIBBA Conference featured a cultural opening ceremony that was held at the RMI International Conference Center and special dinner hosted by President Jurelang Zedkeia and First Lady Hannah Jurelang Zedkaia. The familiar “Yokwe” could be heard throughout the walls of the center. The evening included a special cultural dance and appearance by the Paramount Chief, welcoming remarks by Honorable Titus Langrine, special message from His Excellency Irooj Jurelang Zedkeia delivered by Acting President Amenta Matthew, special address by Dr. Sharon Nelson-Barber, remarks by PIBBA President Rosa Salas Palomo, a closing prayer by Rev. Enja Enos, introductions by Immediate Past-President Shelten Neth and emcee Molly Helkena, chanting by Willie Mwekto, and performances by the Marshall Islands High School Choir/Special Education students and Majuro Atoll Local Government Choir.

The second through fourth days of the PIBBA Conference were held at the Marshall Islands High School, which began with breakfast, entertainment, announcements, guest speakers, and acknowledgements. The second day featured guest speaker and RMI 2010 Pioneer of the Year, Alfred Capelle, followed by various cultural and educational/language workshops.

The third day featured guest speaker Dr. Hilda Heine, followed by various cultural and educational/language workshops, and a special awards ceremony for the Indigenous Teacher of the Year and Pioneer of the Year for each of the entities.

The final day of the conference featured guest speaker US Ambassador Martha Campbell, followed by additional cultural and educational/language workshops. The PIBBA International Business Meeting was later conducted, and the new PIBBA officers were elected. The new position of webmaster was also introduced during the business meeting. The newly elected PIBBA Officers include the following:

President: Cheta Anien
President-Elect: Senator Kathy Kesolei
Secretary: Frances Sablan
Treasurer: Shelten G. Neth
International Historian: Dr. Marilyn Salas
Webmaster: Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera
Immediate Past-President: Rosa Salas Palomo

The day ended with a silent auction of cultural arts & crafts and a closing ceremony and dinner hosted at the RMI International Convention Center. It featured meaningful traditional performances and presentation of gifts from all the Pacific entities.

We extend a big “Kommool Tata” to all PIBBA Conference steering committee members, and all the entities that joined us to make the 29th Annual International PIBBA Conference a memorable event that will always be remembered for years to come! Thank you! Kommool! Si Yu’os Ma’ase’! Kalahngan! Kinissow! Mesulang! Kammagar!