Look Within: Forum Chair

‘Will we be assertive, or will we leave it to others to decide our fate?"
13 Jul 2022 08:39
Look Within: Forum Chair
(First row from left): New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Niue Foreign Minister Dalton Tagelagi, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders chair and Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr, French Polynesia’s Vice President Jean-Christophe Bouissou, Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. (Back row from left): Tonga’s Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman, New Caledonia’s President Louis Mapou, Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann, Nauru’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Asterio Appi, Tuvalu’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Kofe, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong and Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna during the traditional welcoming ceremony at the Grand Pacific Hotel on July 12, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A midst the backdrop of global and regional turmoil, Pacific Islands Forum leaders yesterday were urged to look within as they deliberate over the next few days.

Forum Chair, Voreqe Bainimarama said: “I offer that the most important consideration for us this week is this: How will we, the Pacific Islands Forum choose to navigate these challenges and opportunities as we voyage into the future?Will we forge ahead together? Will we take individual paths? Will we be assertive, or will we leave it to others to decide our fate?”

The questions were posed during the first formal engagement of Forum leaders’ dialogue with associate members and Forum observers.

Mr Bainimarama also stirred cultural pride and links to the ocean.


“Our connections are anchored in the ancient past where our ancestors once sailed and traded, bringing us together as peoples of the Pacific.”

“These connections anchor our unity today, giving us common identity and purpose.”

The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent is the vision and plan up for consideration during the leaders retreat on Thursday.

A minute of silence was also observed yesterday to remember former regional leaders who have passed on, those who have succumbed to COVID-19 and also the former Prime Minister of Japan- Shinzo Abe.

Mr Abe was Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He was shot last Friday during a campaign event.



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