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Samoan soprano captivates conference delegates

Samoan soprano captivates conference delegates

Monday 12 November 2007, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Conference, Apia, Samoa – The 60th Anniversary Conference of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) got under way in Apia, Samoa today with soprano Daphne Collins’ soaring voice captivating and uniting the delegates in a song that depicted a region of rich culture and tradition.

Collins, an opera singer of Samoan heritage who returned from New Zealand about a year ago to settle in Samoa, welcomed delegates with ‘Pasefika’, a song written by the Fiji Council of Churches for the Pacific Arts Festival held in Samoa in 1996, and ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’.

The music was a reminder to delegates, who will deliberate over the next two days on issues affecting the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories covered by SPC’s mandate, of the close friendships the peoples of the Pacific have with one another.

The theme for this year’s 5th Conference of the Pacific Community is ‘The Future of Pacific Fisheries’. Issues high on the agenda are urbanisation, climate change and the future of fisheries in the Pacific region.

Among delegates at the Conference are a former SPC Director-General and now Premier of Niue, Young Vivien; the Governor of American Samoa, the Honourable Togiola T.A. Tulafono; the Ulu o Tokelau (head of Tokelau), Faipule Kuresa Nasau; the Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia, His Excellency Alik Alik; and ministers and other high-level officials from SPC’s member countries and territories.

In his opening address, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, commended SPC for giving Samoa the opportunity to host the conference and described it as a ‘homecoming’ for Samoa.

Malielegaoi said Samoa set the trend of Island member Secretaries-General of SPC when it provided the first and second Secretaries-General in Afoafouvale Misimoa and Gustav Betham.

He added that two of Samoa’s leaders, Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole, participated in the very first South Pacific Conference in Fiji in 1950.

Samoa last hosted the SPC Conference in 1973.

For more information, contact Rita Narayan, SPC correspondent for CRGA 37 and the 5th Pacific Community Conference, via email: ritan@spc.int or by phone: +685 7206902. You can also check the SPC website at www.spc.int.

ENDS

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