Giving our children sustainable futures through multilingual education: Vanuatu’s UN Ambassador speaks on International Mother Languages Day

Odo Tevi, Vanuatu's Ambassador to the United Nations

Odo Tevi, Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Speech by Odo Tevi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the United Nations, New York, in Commemoration of the International Mother Language Day, 21st February 2017

I have the honour to provide remarks this evening on the important theme: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. This topic is timely given that we are celebrating the ‘International Mother Language Day’ today.

This is also important as we are embarking on Read the rest of this entry »

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Vanuatu misses out on Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam; World War II museum gets go ahead in Luganville

Traditional canoes at yesterday's opening ceremony of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Hagåtña, Guam. Photo: Edward B. San Nicolas via Facebook

Vanuatu should have been represented: Traditional canoes at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Hagåtña, Guam. Photo: Edward B. San Nicolas via Facebook

Politicians are blamed for the loss of the budget for Vanuatu to attend the 12th Pacific Arts Festival taking place in Guam. Cultural Centre (VKS) Director Lazaire Asal tells Jonas Cullwick in today’s Daily Post that the budget Read the rest of this entry »


Pala Molisa: we need to rebuild the links between the peoples of the Pacific

Pala Molisa, PhD. Photo: Victoria University

Ni-Vanuatu scholar Pala Molisa, PhD. Photo: Victoria University

Pala Molisa was born in Vanuatu, but did most of his schooling in New Zealand. He’s now a lecturer at Victoria University’s Business School, with a PhD in accounting. Not your usual, yawn-inducing kind of accounting, but the kind that gets him called an “activist accountant”. Here he talks to Dale Husband of e-tangata about why Māori and other Pasifika people need to reconnect “the threads of whakapapa [geneaology, ancestry] that colonisation has broken” — and unite to tackle the big social and ecological challenges of our time.

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Cablegate Vanuatu | UNESCO: Countering the Cultural Diversity Convention

For a country like Vanuatu that prides itself on its policy of supporting our numerous cultures, languages and traditions, this 2005 cable is significant because it shows the USA attempting to use its political and diplomatic might to quash support from small nations, including Vanuatu, for an international convention established specifically to protect this cultural diversity.

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was conceived to protect national cultural policy from free trade agreements like the WTO/GATS or bilateral trade negotiations, and the US opposed it because they believed that it would hinder free trade (in other words, serve as a hindrance to US economic interests in cultural industries such as motion pictures and music).

Fortunately, US opposition to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions did not prevent it from being adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in Paris in October 2005.

To date, 117 member states have ratified the Convention; however Vanuatu has signed but not yet ratified the Convention.

Key quote from this cable:

If we are to slow down the convention it will take pressure at the highest levels in Washington and around the world to convince governments that they are supporting a non-democratic piece of international law that has been cloaked in the language of culture.

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