The Austronesian Forum was held in Palau for the first time which kicked off on September 29 through the Austronesian Languages Revitalization Forum.

Palau’s Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton, in her welcoming remarks delivered on September 29, emphasized the importance of the forum and partnerships among Austronesian countries in finding ways to revive languages among the younger generation, schools, and community.

“As Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, our duty and mandate is to ensure functions of all our services adds value to enhance the good and sustainable well-being of our people and our community through the preservation, protection and sustainability of our traditional heritage and culture,” Minister Baklai said.

Minister Baklai said that through forum, participants can play a vital role in the joint efforts in preserving culture and reviving Indigenous languages.

The minister reiterated that the role of Indigenous language is integral in the society and culture, adding that it identifies “who we are and where we came from.”

“When a language dies out, future generations lose a vital essential part of the culture that is necessary to completely understand it, and to live it.,” she added.

Taiwan’s Council of the Indigenous Peoples (CIP) also co-hosted the Austronesian Forum-Executive Council Meeting and GCTF-Austronesian Languages Revitalization Forum.

Several topics on Austronesians and indigenous languages were discussed during the meeting on September 30 with respective speakers from the Australian National University, Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, and Palau. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)