Representing Palau at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) 40th General Conference was current Chairperson of Palau National Commission for UNESCO Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton at Paris France from November 12-27, 2019. Accompanying her in this trip are two sitting members of Palau National Commission for UNESCO, Sunny Ngirmang Director of Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation as well as Jennifer Olegeriil Director of Koror State Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement.

During the conference, 122 Minister of Cultures gathered together to discuss emerging issues, challenges, and opportunities regarding culture. Chosen to speak on what was called Panel 3 was Minster Temengil-Chilton which touched on “Investing in culture and creativity for sustainable development and employment.” Minister Temengil-Chilton along with Samoa were the only two Ministers of Culture to participate in the panel.

During the panel session, Minister Temengil Chilton shared issues and challenges in Palau. She touched on cultural theme’s including the concept BUL which garnered international recognition. In her speech she said that “…we urgently continue to closely engage and lead for more meaningful, practical, and sustainable common cultural spheres for the well-being of societies, economies, cultures and natural environment, which will enable resiliency in the face of changing conditions and extreme global events.”

Moreover, she stated that “we are all people of culture, and this is who we are, and what we are. It is important for us to realize the culture that makes us who we are in our environment and in our surroundings. This is crucial for all our livelihood.”

The UNESCO General Conference brought forth all 193 Member States. Those that attended the event included 14 head of State and Government, 100 education and higher education ministers, 122 cultural ministers, United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres, the President of the United Nations General Assembly Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and President of the host country Mr. Emmanuel Macron.

Also in attendance were countries of the Pacific Region which include Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Additional information and logistical support was provided by New Zealand and Australia. (Telbakes Yano)