LEFT: Ngiraklang Malsol Ngiraibuuch of Ngeremlengui. RIGHT: Former Senator Adalbert Eledui of Koror State.

Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) paid tribute last night to two Palauan pioneers, Ngiraklang Malsol Ngiraibuuch of Ngeremlengui and former Senator Adalbert Eledui of Koror State for their traditional and contemporary knowledge that merged to build a strong foundation upon which many of Palau’s conservation policies are built.

At the 18th Year Annual Fundraising co-hosted by Senate of the 10th OEK  themed “Building a strong foundation for a resilient future”, Senate President Hokkons Baules acknowledged Center’s contributions and expressed Senate and OEK support of PICRC every year since its enactment.  He said they too believe in two pillars of knowledge, traditional and modern as basis of stronger future.

PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu emphasized that to address current conservation issues facing us today, “we need to merge contemporary with traditional knowledge.”

Recognizing Ngiraklang Malsol Ngiraibuuch, Dr. Yimnang recounted marine biologist Bob Johannes’s 1974 description of Ngiraklang Malsol Ngiraibuuch’s knowledge of the sea, tides, fishes, and spawning as “phenomenal”.  In Dr. Johannes description of former Ngiraklang’s knowledge, he said he had more knowledge of the fishes, their movement, behavior and other information than all science around the world had at that time.

“Ngiraklang Malsol Ngiraibuuch epitomizes the value of traditional knowledge that had conserved and preserved the Palau we have today,” expressed Golbuu.

Paying tribute to former Senator Adalbert Eledui, Golbuu recognized Eledui’s strength and vision to bring the tradition and the contemporary together and in doing so was instrumental in getting Koror’s Southern Lagoon listed as World Heritage Site under UNESCO, implemented Koror State Tour Guide Certification, instrumental in the enactment of Protected Area Network Act and other landmark conservation policies in Palau.

Emphasizing that the Center is source of scientific and technical knowledge for policy makers to utilize, Dr. Golbuu says their work continue to be based on traditional and contemporary knowledge. (L. N. Reklai)