NADI, Fiji—On July 31st 2019, five citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) graduated from Australia’s James Cook University’s (JCU) Ridge to Reef Sustainable Development Post Graduate Program, making the FSM cohort one of the largest groups of the approximately 30 Pacific Islanders that enrolled in the program.

Ms. Faith Siba, Mr. Marston Luckymis and Mr. Hans Skilling of the FSM State of Kosrae, Mr. Jorg Anson of the FSM State of Pohnpei, and Ms. Rosalinda Yatilman of the FSM State of Yap, were part of the graduation ceremony held on July 31st, 2019 in Nadi, Republic of Fiji, where the JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor of Tropical Environments and Societies, Professor Marcus Lane, presented each graduate with a postgraduate certificate.  The ceremony celebrated two years of hard work and tremendous commitment to the students’ online and classroom studies, which was on top of their regular day-to-day careers in public service.

The intensive postgraduate program is a component under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Ridge to Reef Projects (both national and regional) aimed at enhancing integrated whole-of-system management capacity in Pacific Island Countries, underpinning effective action for sustainable biological, social, and economic resilience.

The FSM scholars who participated in the program are primarily the coordinators of the Ridge to Reef Projects that are being coordinated by the Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Emergency Management (DECEM) in the four FSM states.  The five FSM graduates will continue their studies for another two years to earn their postgraduate diploma, totaling four years of studies supported under the projects.

“We are very proud of our young graduates who not only were able to complete the first phase of their studies successfully, but have also been assisting us in various roles to protect our fragile environment in the FSM,” said Cindy Ehmes, Assistant Secretary of DECEM.  “I trust this program will help them to continue to serve our islands into the future.”

Graduate Marston Luckymis of Kosrae expressed his gratitude at the ceremonies with the humility that is the embodiment of the FSM’s culture: “this is a very special moment for me and I thank you all for your support.” 

Graduate Jorg Anson of Pohnpei stated that he was “honored to be part of this graduate program among his young peers.”

The Pacific Ridge to Reef program is a GEF global test case and programmatic initiative involving multiple United Nations’, Regional, and National agencies, and Small Island Developing States, to support and address national priorities and development needs while delivering global environment benefits in line with the GEF focal area strategies—Biodiversity, Land Degradation, Climate Change, International Waters, and Sustainable Forest Management.

The FSM National Government extends its sincere congratulations to Mr. Luckymis, Mr. Skilling, Mr. Anson, Ms. Siba, and Ms. Yatilman, and looks forward to supporting their Ridge-to-Reef actions today for our Nation’s environmental prosperity tomorrow.

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