Ati George Sokomanu

Ati George Sokomanu

Director-General, 1993-1996

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).