Good evening to everyone. I join the Board of Directors and Management of the Palau International Coral Reef Center in welcoming everyone this evening. I take pleasure in doing so on behalf of the leadership and members of the Senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau, your co-hosts of this fundraising dinner this evening.

The Senate and the Palau National Congress has shown its commitment towards the success of the Palau International Coral Reef Center since its inception pursuant to RPPL 5-17 which became law on November 20, 1998 and subsequent funding and other support every year since then. It is satisfying to note also that the PICRC has successfully lived up to its mission and objectives pursuant to law, with the successful establishment and operation of a “non-profit coral reef center and marine park that provides a forum for coral reef studies, research and education”.

In this regard, I join all of you in congratulating PICRC for living up to this year’s theme, “Building a Strong Foundation for a Resilient Future”. We too continue to share with you this expressed commitment for the sustainability of the Center as well as other benefits it may attract for the Republic of Palau.

We share PICRC’s pride in its milestone accomplishments in technical research, education and capacity building for Palauans who are now considered experts in their respective fields, not only here, but on a regional and international level.  It is inspiration that calls for our sincere appreciation for their efforts and our congratulations as well on this 18th Anniversary.

I remain confident that the Center will progress in the spirit of “intellectual humility” relying both on advancements in science, modern technology and the wisdom of traditional knowledge that has always been guided by time tested best practices in conservation and sustainable replenishment of life in our oceans. With this, I join PICRC in thanking all of our donor partners who continue to support this institution into this new year of “Innovative Learning and Excellence”.

Kom Kmal Mesulang.

Happy New Year el mei erkid el rokui e Kom Kmal Mesulang. Enjoy the evening…