Pacific Day 2013 – a celebration of Pacific ideas, cultures and food
Pacific Day 2013, the annual celebration of Pacific ideas, cultures and food, took place on Monday 17 June at the New Zealand Embassy.
Pacific Day is hosted by the Washington Pacific Committee, which is made up of embassies and offices of Pacific Island countries, states and territories in Washington and New York.
This year, Cook Islands Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Henry Puna, was the guest of honour. Pacific Day incorporated a lunch of policy discussion between US officials, PICT representatives and a seminar featuring a keynote address by PM Puna on “Pacific Island policy challenges”.
The lunch and the seminar continued the Embassy’s efforts, over the past few years, to add a significant policy focus to what has traditionally been a social/cultural occasion. PM Puna’s presence added significant mana and prestige to the event, and US government officials participating in the panel from the State Department and the White House, reinforced the enhanced engagement between the United States and the Pacific region.
The reception followed the seminar and included delicious dishes from American Samoa, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Hawai’i, Palau, and Papua New Guinea, wine and beer from Australia and New Zealand and coffee from Papua New Guinea. Almost every country participating sent performers to showcase their country’s culture ending the day with a renewed focus on Pacific regional issues and cultural exchange.