“It’s kind of scary,” Mary Ann said, even though she had been a volunteer liaison office (LO), once before, earlier this year. Still, the 27-year-old Palauan young lady explained, “I’m excited about challenging my limitations and expanding my experiences.”

Like so many other Palauan Youth she will volunteer, receive training, and represent her country by serving VVIP guests, including First Ladies, from other nations coming to Palau for the Asia Pacific First Ladies Summit, December 9-11, 2019, in Koror.

Mary Ann will be an LO for the First Lady of Nauru when she comes to Palau for the Summit. Seven current and former First Ladies will be attending the 3-day event which is jointly co-hosted by the First Lady, Debbie M. Remengesau, and the Office of the President, along with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace.

In total, 400 guests will attend the First Ladies Summit, including 250 international participants from 36 nations, along with 150 guests from Palau itself. Mary Ann sums up her responsibility confidently, saying, “It’s all about communication.” There have been 10 LO’s recruited by the Government of Palau and 17 LO’s from among the international volunteers. Still others will help with ushering, staffing registration tables, and other jobs that have direct interaction with guests.

Training youth in diplomatic protocol skills is just a small part of UPF’s investment in the future leaders of this republic. An affiliate organization to UPF, called Youth and Students for Peace, has been conducting a series of programs in schools in the capital region over the past two months.

These programs include: character education classes, training in public speaking, a 2-day youth camp, community service projects, offering scholarships (under the condition that students return to Palau after graduation), drug prevention education, and marital arts training.

The theme connecting these various activities together is “filial piety” — a child’s love for his or her parents. One of Moses’ 10 Commandments is “Honor your father and mother.” Indeed, this tradition is deeply rooted in the Palauan culture and dominate throughout the Asia Pacific.

Palauan students have already held preliminary public-speaking competition in four high schools. The finals will be part of the International Youth Assembly, held December 11 at 2:00 PM in the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center where some 500 students are expected to participate. First prize in the public speaking competition called, S!NERGY, is US$1,000.

It will be an exciting, action-packed, uplifting program that focuses the passions of youth and prepares them to take responsibility for their own future, as well as that of their family, community and nation.

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