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Pasifika Activists: Indigenous Voices To Be Heard In Climate Summit

“Thinking of my home one day not being there is both scary and heartbreaking”

These are the words of Titilua Ikenasio, one of the confirmed participants of the VICE Creators Summit.

Titilua Ikenasio

Titilua, who is of Samoan heritage, is a journalism student at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

She believes it is important for Pasifika voices to be heard at this event because it is their islands which are at the frontline of this battle against Climate Change.

“We deserve a seat at the table because we need our people’s voices and thoughts to be heard rather than having to take a backseat to people who are looking at our fight from the outside in.”

Titilua said the event is important to her because it combines her love for writing, her love for her motherland and her love for telling her peoples stories.

“As a journalist student when I think of the kind of journalist I want to be, I think of writing stories on issues and matters that are important to my people and the rest of the Pasifika - this most definitely includes Climate Change. Climate Change is currently threatening my motherland, the source of my culture, language and traditions. Although I am part of the diaspora, I still call Samoa my home.” Says Titilua.

Another confirmed participant, Maia Berryman of New Zealand says she looks to bring Māori voices into the climate 'debate'.

Maia Berryman

“My main goal in participating is to provide a point of reframing climate activism from academics and politicians to artists and kids with cameras.”

“Despite COVID-19 pandemic, climate change must remain on the agenda of Pacific island countries. It is a time bomb. It is good that many Pacific Islanders use this opportunity to voice their concern on climate issues in their region”, said Vincent Ochilet, Head of ICRC Regional Delegation in the Pacific.

VICE in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is organising a three-day online summit and mentorship programme for aspiring journalists and young creative activists based in the Asia-Pacific region. VICE and the ICRC are curating a series of intimate talks and interactive workshops over September 21-23, 2020, to serve as a springboard for collaborative, multidisciplinary projects advocating for systemic change.

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