HONOLULU (Sept. 13, 2022) – As Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL), the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) yesterday welcomed sixteen leaders from Pacific Islands nations and territories to the East-West Center in Honolulu for the opening of the 12th PICL summit meeting. View photos from the opening day of the three-day summit on Flickr.

David W. Panuelo, Chair of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders and President of the Federated States of Micronesia, speaks at the Opening Ceremony of the 12th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders held at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Pu‘uhonua: The Pacific Way Forward.” To open the pu‘uhonua, or a safe space for active dialogue and engagement, events began with a Hawaiian ‘awa ceremony offered by the cultural group Nā Kāne ʻAwalani.

The first of several leaders’ dialogues over the course of the conference began with a session between the PICL delegations and officials of Asia-Pacific countries who are not members of the body. The dialogue featured discussions with representatives of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Honolulu.

Day one of the event also included the first in-person meeting of the recently formed Women of the Wave Network, a group formed collaboratively by women who work for the nine agencies of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP). Founded as a mechanism to bring CROP women together to address issues of concern and to advocate for the advancement of women and girls in the Pacific, Women of the Wave members shared insights and experiences on advancing gender equality and social inclusion in the region.

The day concluded with a dinner reception hosted by Hawai‘i Governor David Ige and First Lady Dawn Ige. To commemorate the gathering, a special award for lifetime contributions to Pacific Islands regionalism was presented to former Hawai‘i Governor George Ariyoshi and (posthumously) Fijian statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who jointly founded the PICL in 1980.

Leader Delegations

The leaders (or their designees) of the following Pacific countries and territories are currently represented at the 12th PICL:

  • American Samoa (virtual attendance)
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Guam
  • Hawai‘i
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Republic of Palau
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu

About the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders:
The Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) summit was founded in 1980 by Hawaiʻi Gov. George Ariyoshi and Fiji Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as a forum for Pacific Islands leaders—regardless of political status and without formal intergovernmental protocol—to address shared issues, learn from each other’s experiences, and develop common approaches to policy. The summit also provides opportunities for the leaders to dialogue with US officials and experts.

About the Pacific Islands Development Program:
The Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) conducts a broad range of activities to enhance the quality of life in the Pacific islands. Based at the East-West Center in Honolulu, PIDP was formed in 1980 at the specific request of the region’s leaders to help advance their collective efforts to achieve and sustain equitable social and economic development. PIDP also serves as the Secretariat for the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders and is a member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP).

About the East-West Center:
The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the US Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.