7 University Master Students and their Professor from the University of Marburg in German are currently here in Palau on a 2 week research and study project about “Peace and Conflict”.
The main focus of their research work is on the tasks of the United Nations. When they came about the special relations Palau had with the UN during the Trust Territory times leading to the Constitution and to the Independence of the Republic of Palau.
President Tommy Remengesau jr. welcomed the students at his office in Myuns and thanked the Group for their interest in Palau. The students where able to ask the President questions, on Palaus political history, on the current economic developments and on the challenges of environmental protection within and beyond the borders of Palau. To the question on “how the political systems of democratic elected and the traditional leaders can still coexist”, the President answer was “by showing the upmost respect for each other”. The German group expressed their sincere gratitude that they where able to meet with President Remengesau jr. (See photo bellow)
The students visited the Palau Community College and did meet with PCC President Patrick Tellei and explained about their research work on “Peace and Conflict” studies in different parts of the world. President Tellei congratulated the young people from Germany for their interest and work in the field of “Piece and Conflict Sturdies”, because it is of greatest importance with ever growing conflicts in all regions of our world, we need to bring more understanding and tolerance into our societies. After the meeting the President Tellei gave the students a tour of the college grounds.
While here in Palau the group did meet and conduct interviews for their research with Palauan individuals that had been instrumental during the TT times, leading to Palaus Independence.
Former President Johnson Toribiong hosted a dinner for the group at the Palaisia Hotel on Wednesday July 13th. He elaborated and gave his inside views of the drafting of the constitution and the implementation of the first Congress of Micronesia in Saipan leading to the formation of the FSM,RMI and later on to the Independence of the Republic of Palau. The young Germans had many questions on this topic for the former President of Palau.
The group did also meet with the Kraemer Translation Committee chairwomen Faustina Rehuher, the former Director of the Palau National Museum and Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs.
Here the topic of interests was on the scientific research and documentation of Palaus traditional culture by the German South Sea Expedition from 1909 /10 by Dr. Augustin Kraemer and his wife Elisabeth. Many questions did arise about the significance of historical preservation of Palaus traditions and customs in our days. For the German students it was a fascinating aspect to learn that the detailed documentation by Kraemer, of Palaus clan structures and lineage throughout the villages is in some instances still being used today in the courts of Palau. The Kraemer Translation Project was in large part financially supported by a grant of the German Foreign Office in Berlin.
Afterwards the students toured the Palau National Museum.
The students and their Professor where also invited by Mandy Etpison to a special guided tour through the Etpison Museum.
The students where also very interested on all aspects of life in Palau, especially on the leading role of Palau in environmental protection. The group had visited the Palau Coral Reef Research Center where they where given a presentation of the centers work on Marine and Coral research and tour of the aquarium and research facilities.
A visit to the Palau Conservation Society gave the students a good inside view of the Environmental protection efforts and programs within all the states of this Island Nation.
Further in depth information on Palaus Shark protection was acquired during a meeting with Dermot Keane from the Palau Shark Sanctuary, who gave a presentation of the process leading to and
the current state of the world first Shark Sanctuary.
A visit to the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Office and a presentation by its Director Keobel Sakuma of the newly created National Marine Sanctuary was another eye opening and most interesting aspect of Palau leading the way into a future of protecting the environment for generations to come.
An other highlight was a Boat trip and land tour to Peleiu Island where the German group visited various WWII sites and had a chance to see the efforts of the work by “Cleared Ground Demining”
In the removal of WWII explosives, that program was in part assisted by a financial grant of the German Foreign Office.
On their way back to Koror there was still time for a Rock Island and snorkeling excursion.
The German university students and their Professor stayed in Koror – Nermid at the Homestay of Maura and Greg Gordon and they where assisted in their preparations by Germanys Honorary Consul to Palau Mr. Thomas Schubert.
The group will depart Palau on July 22nd by Asiana Airlines via Seoul to Frankfurt Germany. [/restrict]