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Chuuk Women’s Council hosted a celebration for International Women’s Day and FSM Cultural Day on March 31st at the Truk Stop Hotel Patio.  The event theme: “ Recognizing the Achievements of Women Who Inspire Women and Communities”.

                                             

About one hundred-fifty women from the five regions of Chuuk, including our sisters from the KAPIT organization, and our sisters from the JICA Program, government officials, religious leaders, including CWC partners from CCS and the PPVDP.  The presence of Her Excellency Ambassador Doria Rosen and Ms. Abigail Kim made the event very special.

                                 

MC Ms. Sirene F. Killion opened the conference with the introduction.  Ms. Susan Danis gave the opening prayer.  Kiki Stinnett then gave the welcoming remarks, overview of the conference and recognized distinguished guests in attendance.  Kiki gave special recognition to Her Excellency US Ambassador to the FSM, Doria Rosen for being an outstanding advocate and supporter of CWC.  Kiki highlighted the importance of the special day by acknowledging that every woman is very special with unique talents and to use their talents to glorify God and to make a difference.  She asked everyone to “congratulate the person next to you for all the wonderful accomplishments and achievements each of you have done and continue to do for your family, community, church, State and Nation.”

This celebration was an opportunity to recognize the five most distinguished achievements of Chuukese Women for 2015 to 2016.  Each woman received a certificate in acknowledgement of their achievements and contributions to the community.

                    

1) Mrs. Alma Danis was born and raised in Chuuk, and has lived here most of her life.  She is the mother to 11 children, 42 grandchildren and 45 great grand children.  Moreover, she is considered the Mother of Chuuk as her late husband was the fist District Administrator of Chuuk.  She founded the Truk Women’s Club and organized education programs for Chuukese children.  In 1997 Mrs. Danis relocated to Oregon but did not leave her Chuukese roots behind, while in Oregon she served her community as she welcomed and assisted Chuukese people as they made transition to the mainland.  In 2016 Mrs. Danis returned to Chuuk and we are happy to have her back.

2) Ms. Ansina Kony received her nursing certificate from Walla Walla Community College in Washington, a bachelor’s degree in community health education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in special education from University of Guam.  She has dedicated her professional life to improving the health and well-being of our community.  She has worked in the field of health and nutrition for the College of Micronesia, before moving on to the position of special education coordinator for Chuuk State Department of Education.  She has spent her personal time volunteering for civic and community organization including the Board of Education, Chuuk Women’s Council, Special Education Advisory Council and the Interagency Council.

3) Dr. Asinech Hellan Pangelian was born in Chuuk.  She attended local school and was the first graduate of Saramen Chuuk Academy High School. She made the move to the US when she finished high school in Chuuk and remained there ever since.  She received her associate’s degree in health and wellness from the College of Micronesia, a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Arizona, and went on to receive her doctor of optometry degree from Nova Southeastern University in Arizona.  She may have left Chuuk but a good part of her remains in the islands.  She founded Eye Care Micronesia (ECM).  In 2015, Dr. Pangelinan and a team of eye doctors visited Chuuk and Pohnpei.  ECM worked with local health care providers including nurses, doctors, and COM health students and teachers from both Chuuk and Pohnpei in providing eye vision screenings and exams for school age children.  They were able to see about close to 800 kids.

4) Dr. Margarita Bernard Cholymay was born on Losap Island, Chuuk.  Dr. Margarita has had several years of school and training in education.  She received her associate’s degree in general education from Suomi College, Michigan, a bachelor’s degree in bilingual education from University of Hawaii, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Guam and her doctoral degree in teach education curriculum studies from the University of Hawaii.  Dr. Cholymay has committed her professional life to improving the educational system and training the next generation of educators. For almost 10 years, she was a primary school teacher at Iras Elementary from there she worked with the national government, Chuuk department of education and College of Micronesia developing teacher training and educational curriculum.  She is an adjunct professor at Chaminade University in Hawaii.  She had dedicated much of her personal time in support of improving the lives of her Chuukese community, and throughout the years she has been the Chair and member of the Chuuk State Board of Education member of the Child Abuse and Health Services Committee, as well as several other committees in Chuuk.

5) Christine Grace Robert was born and raised on Weno.  She graduated from St. Cecilia School and Xavier High School.  She is currently enrolled as a nursing student at the College of Micronesia.  Ms. Robert is the Micronesia Challenge Young Champion Intern at Chuuk Women’s Council.  In this capacity she teaches children in grades 3-5 about environment and climate change.  She is an active member of the student body association and Peniesene Youth Catholic Association, which is also member of the CWC.

Weno Mayor Pintas Kenneth welcomed the participants and also acknowledged the presence of Her Excellency US Ambassador Rosen.  He encouraged the Chuukese women historically have significant and important roles in the family and their community.  Representing the Governors’ Office was Mr. Tracy Meter who retreated what Mayor Kenneth said.

                                               

Her Excellency Ambassador, Doria Rosen was honored for her work and support of the FSM and Chuuk State.  She gave inspiring remarks touching on the importance of education, which is the key to success. She encouraged the participants that it takes a village to educate a child and for everyone to be active participants in their community.  Education opens the doors to opportunities and allows people to become anything they strive to be. You are a role model to the younger generation and inspire other people to make a difference.

                                                                                  Our keynote speaker for this special occasion was Ms. Margarita Cholymay, PhD and one of our most distinguished Achiever. She impressed upon the women the importance for culturally appropriate and the traditional respectful ways for our elders and leaders.  Her presentation showed a sailing canoe on a journey, which illustrates the importance of teamwork and helping one another to ensure a safe and successful journey. International Women’s Day celebrates and recognizes the significant achievements and the contributions of Chuukese Women to improve the lives of their families and communities.  She went on to emphasize and encourage the women to practice their traditional roles, and to follow Christian values.  She reiterated a quote by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

The First Lady of Chuuk State, Bersita Elimo gave the closing remarks for the day.  She thanked everyone for their roles in supporting the community.  She emphasized that education is the key to success, and it is our obligation to ensure that our children go to school.  She encourages parents to engage in their children’s schools and to support and guide their children in their studies.  She thanked all of the women, who presented at the celebration and praised them for their achievements and support of education in Chuuk.

The ceremony was followed by lunch of locally prepared cuisine and entertainment by Chuukese dance and singing groups, as well as the JICA and KAPIT women. 

             

All participants enjoyed the celebration and we thank everyone for their time and our sincere kinisou chapur to Truk Stop Hotel for the free venue and their support.