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Sir John Kaputin opens ACP Festival

Papua New Guinea’s Sir John Kaputin opens ACP Festival

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Saturday October 14, 2006: One of Papua New Guinea’s best-known exports, Sir John Kaputin, has opened the First ACP Festival, at which Pacific artists are appearing. ACP stands for African, Caribbean and Pacific states, and is a development-oriented grouping of 79 member states, including 14 Pacific Island countries and territories.

Sir John, the secretary-general of the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States, last night opened the October 14-21 festival at a cocktail event for ministers of culture and officials at Santo Domingo’s museum of modern art. He reminded his audience that artists and cultural operators were “translators of social, political and economic realities of your time.”

In addition, “culture … continues to have a significant impact on social cohesion, conflict prevention, and social and economic development,” said Sir John, 64, a Parliamentarian for 30 years before heading to Brussels, Belgium, in 1995 to take up his first ACP role as its president. “By bringing a variety of cultures together in this way, we can see not just the differences, but also the underlying commonalities that unite us.” The festival, he added, would give “a chance to reflect in the ways in which culture continues to enrich the lives of people … and on the immense potential for further development.”

Pacific performers are still traveling to the republic, but are to include Papua New Guinea’s art veteran, Joe Nalo; Cook Island fashion designer Marion Cecilia Kali Howard; the newly-formed Fijian contemporary dance group Rako; Fijian sculptor Ben Fong; Fijian musician Sailasa Cakau Tora; and the Seven Stars Band from Samoa. PNG film maker Martin Madem is expected to present, in person, his documentary film Crater Mountain Story, about the threats and opportunities mining brings to a remote community.

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The festival also includes five days of symposiums. The event has been preceded by the Second Meeting of ACP Minister of Culture, attended by the director of PNG’s National Cultural Commission, Jacob Simet; the Cook Islands’ newly-appointed secretary of the Ministry for Cultural Development, Raemaki Karati; the assistant chief executive of Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, Mose Fulu; and the director of Niue’s Department of Community Affairs, Fapoi Akesi.


• The Pacific members of the ACP Group of States are: the Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; the Republic of the Marshall Islands; the Federated States of Micronesia; Nauru; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; Timor Leste; Tonga; Tuvalu; and Vanuatu. • For more information on the ACP Festival, see http://www.acp.int/acpfestival/index.htm

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