Pacific Day event attracts hundreds, Foreign Minister McCully shines spotlight on Pacific issues in “Pacific Century” speech

From left: Foreign Minister McCully, Ambassador Hersey Kyota, Ambassador Mike Moore and Michael Appleton, New Zealand Embassy political officer. (Photo: GE Gargallo Photography)

 

Pacific Day, Washington’s largest annual event celebrating Pacific issues, culture and cuisine featured a keynote address, “The Pacific Century”, by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully, at the New Zealand Embassy on 23 May. 

Minister McCully’s speech entitled “Pacific Century” was followed by a reply from Dr Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State with responsibility for US engagement in Pacific issues in the United Nations. The seminar concluded with a panel discussion involving experts across a range of topics, such as small island state issues, climate change, biodiversity and major power relations in the Pacific. This year’s seminar was co-sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Pacific Partners Initiative and moderated by Ernie Bower, director of CSIS Pacific Partners Initiative.

At the reception, Pacific-style food and drink was served, and guests were entertained by a range of cultural performers, including a didgeridoo player from Australia, and dancers from Samoa, Hawaii and Fiji. The popular Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre group also performed.

“Pacific Day seeks to encourage awareness, cooperation and understanding on a range of issues of mutual importance to the Pacific and the United States,” said Ambassador Mike Moore. “The Seminar provides an opportunity to highlight the challenges facing the Pacific region, while the Reception is a great night out”. 

Pacific Day is hosted by the Washington Pacific Committee, which comprises the Embassies and Offices of Pacific Island Countries, States and Territories represented in Washington and New York. This year, Pacific Day took place against the backdrop of enhanced engagement between our region and the United States following a meeting in Honolulu last year where President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Pacific Island leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our region. 

Pacific Day is supported by the Ambassadors and Representatives of American Samoa, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. 

Please find Foreign Minister McCully's "Pacific Century" speech on the Beehive website: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/pacific-day-keynote-speech-new-zealand-embassy-washington-dc 

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