Lourdes T. Pangelinan
Ati George Sokomanu
Dr Jimmie Rodgers
Director-General, January 2006 to 2014
Dr Jimmie Rodgers comes from the Western Province of Solomon Islands. He graduated from the Fiji School of Medicine in 1980 and later gained postgraduate qualifications in anaesthesia (New Zealand) and health administration (Australia). He was Chief Medical Officer (Anaesthesia) at the Solomon Islands national hospital for several years and also worked for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, where he held the post of Under-Secretary of Health Care for over six years and for a time was acting Permanent Secretary for Health.
Dr Rodgers joined SPC in 1996 as Director of Programmes, a post that later became Deputy Director-General based in Noumea. He moved to Suva in 1998 to head SPC’s Suva regional office, where he served as Senior Deputy Director-General. He was appointed Director-General of SPC in November 2005 and took up the post in early 2006.
As a result of his personal experiences in medicine and government administration, Dr Rodgers has a strong interest in sustainable development, particularly in rural areas. He has contributed to a number of regional development processes and initiatives, including the formulation of the Pacific Plan. He was a member of the Reflection Group for the Eminent Persons’ Review of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2004 and led a review of the Fiji School of Medicine in 2005. A constant feature of his work is the importance he places on clear and transparent management and open communication with member countries, development partners and donors, always with the aim of achieving his often-stated philosophy of ‘putting people first’. He is married with three children.
Lourdes T. Pangelinan
Lourdes T. Pangelinan is from Guam, often referring to herself as a ‘simple Chamorro woman’. She graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1976 with a degree in international relations and then completed a year of postgraduate study in France.
Ms Pangelinan began her career as a journalist with a Guam newspaper before being appointed Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor of Guam in 1979, based in San Francisco. She returned to Guam in 1984 to become Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor of Guam, and later took up the role of Director of Communications with the Superior Court of Guam.
She first joined SPC as Deputy Director-General in 1996. At the time, she was no stranger to SPC, having represented Guam at SPC technical and policy meetings for a number of years.
When Ms Pangelinan became Director-General of SPC in January 2000, she made history as the first woman to lead SPC and the first to lead a Pacific regional organisation. She maintained an ‘open door’ management style, and under her guidance, SPC became a leaner and more efficient organisation while retaining its Pacific Island heart and soul. Pacific Community members unanimously reappointed her to the position of Director-General for three twoyear terms, the last of which ended in January 2006.
Three months earlier, at the 4th Conference of the Pacific Community in Palau, delegates paid tribute to her vision, leadership and wisdom. The Hon. Felix Camacho, Governor of Guam, stated, ‘We on Guam are extremely proud of her accomplishments. Lou will not be lost to SPC, as her excellent work, her positive contribution and tremendous influence over the past 10 years will carry on.’ The French ambassador, His Excellency Bruno Gain, said that her ‘smiling authority, enormous talent and outstanding work [had] contributed to maintaining SPC as a healthy and strong organisation’.
Ms Pangelinan continues to work in the region. In February 2007, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat appointed her as manager for development of the Regional Institutional Framework (RIF) Stage Two.
Dr Robert B. Dun
Robert B. Dun was born in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia, in February 1930. He studied veterinary science at the University of Sydney, gaining a PhD in development genetics in 1959.
Dr Dun spent the early part of his career as a veterinarian, geneticist and animal breeding researcher. In 1953 he began working for the Department of Agriculture in New South Wales where he progressively shifted from science into management, becoming Deputy Director-General of the department in 1977. He joined the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau in Canberra in 1983 and was its Director-General for 10 years.
In 1996, he took up the position of Secretary-General of what was then called the South Pacific Commission. During his term, the name of the organisation became the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the position of Secretary-General became Director-General.
At SPC, Bob Dun is remembered as a hard worker, good listener, strategic thinker and pragmatic manager who lost no time in instigating administrative and financial reform of the organisation. One year after being appointed as Secretary-General, he and his two deputies were nominated People of the Year by Islands Business magazine in acknowledgement of their success in revitalising SPC. Under his direction, management skills, accountability and leadership were set as essential criteria for staff recruitment, and relationships with donors, members and host countries were strengthened.
An accomplished athlete and keen promoter of physical activity, he launched the annual SPC triathlon as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1997 and encouraged all staff to take part. An equally popular twin event in Suva was called the mini Olympics.
Bob Dun retired after he left SPC in 2000. Early in 2007, he was invited to be a member of the Regional Institutional Framework (RIF) Task Force, which was led by another former SPC Director-General, Lourdes Pangelinan.
When Dr Dun visited SPC shortly before its 60th anniversary, he spoke of his time at the helm of SPC, saying, “I am still very proud to have been part of the Pacific way. It was a humbling experience to witness Pacific Island leaders working together and to listen to the wisdom that came from our governing body councils.”
Ati George Sokomanu
George Kalkoa, as he was formerly known, was born in 1937 in Mele Village on Efate in Vanuatu (or the New Hebrides as it was then called), from a chiefly line. He was educated at the Methodist Lelean Memorial School in Fiji and later at Nasinu Teachers Training College.
He first worked in Vanuatu as a teacher before joining the British National Service. He served in Solomon Islands on attachment and worked for the British administration on his return to the New Hebrides.
Mr Sokomanu was Secretary for Social Affairs in 1970 and in 1976 went into politics, becoming Minister for Home Affairs in the Government of National Unity. On 4 July 1980, an electoral college elected him as the first President of the future Republic of Vanuatu, which came into being that month. After his election, he was given a new chiefly name, Sokomanu, and was President for two terms – first till February 1984 and then from March 1984 to January 1989.
The 32nd South Pacific Conference appointed Mr Sokomanu to the position of Secretary-General in 1992.
As Secretary-General of SPC, his major challenge was the headquarters reconstruction project, which began under the previous Secretary-General. The successful completion of the project culminated in SPC’s move to its current headquarters in 1995.
Following his departure from SPC, Ati George Sokomanu continued to be active in Vanuatu and Pacific affairs. He was, in particular, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister in the government of Maxime Carlot Korman, leader of the Francophone Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), 1994–1995. Among other roles, he served as the Chairman of Ambassadors for Peace Vanuatu and President of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Mr Sokomanu is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).