Emotional farewells as Festival of Pacific Arts closes in Guam: Regional celebration of cultural heritage pauses until 2020 in Hawai’i


maori-performance Two weeks of vivid activity celebrating and showcasing the diversity of the Pacific region’s cultural traditions has drawn to a close in Guam.

More than 2,700 artisans, dancers, storytellers, singers, designers and mentors from 25 countries and territories, joined by an estimated 10,000 daily visitors, contributed to the success of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam.

“Together, we’ve shared some of our culture and discussed the sometimes delicate balance in moving our societies forward, while also preserving our heritage, our land and our seas,” the Governor of Guam, the Hon Eddie Calvo, said during the closing ceremony.

“In line with the theme of this year’s festivities, we took stock of who we are, what we owned and what we shared with one another, to forge a greater bond.

“Our cultures have survived the evolutions of our global and our Pacific community, and they have allowed us to look at the world and remind ourselves that as we create our places in it, we must stay true to who we are and where we come from,” Governor Calvo told the packed stadium.

The Festival hosted a multitude of activities including forums, workshops, conferences and official meetings such as the 27th Council of Pacific Arts and Culture and Third Pacific Ministers of Culture meetings, enabling artists, administrators, officials, performers and academics to share, exchange and learn from each other.

Representing the Pacific Community (SPC), the Festival custodian, the Director of SPC’s Social Development Programme, Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, acknowledged the tireless efforts of the FestPAC Organising Committee, the support staff and the warmth of the people of Guam.

“In the past few weeks, we overcame our own individual differences and became united as we kept our focus on our purpose to retain and sustain Pacific arts and culture, and we’ve been able to do that through the kind assistance of our hosts, the people of Guam,” Ms Toelupe Tago-Elisara said.

“We have been overwhelmed with your gracious hospitality and your generosity.

“We commend you for a job well done, and I imagine our colleagues in Hawai’i already have a challenge to maintain the standard of delivery you have set.

“To the heads of delegations and all the participants of FestPAC, your presence has encouraged us and confirmed the value of this regional event.

“May you all sail back to your homes in calm waters and may you all stem the wind like a bird, until we meet again at FestPAC 2020,” Ms Toelupe Tago-Elisara said, quoting a Samoan proverb Ia vivili faamanu o matagi.

The closing ceremony in which Guam presented gifts to the departing delegations, included the handover of the 2016 Festival flag to Hawai’i which will host the Festival in June 2020. The theme for FestPAC 2020 in Hawai’i is E kū I ka hoe uli (take hold of the steering paddle).

SPC, as custodian of the Festival, will support Hawai’i steer towards FestPAC 2020.

Media contact:
Lauren Robinson SPC Media Relations, [email protected] or +679 337 9250

Useful links:
Replay livestream of the closing ceremony
12th Festival of Pacific Arts official website