In preparation for his upcoming travel to the region, Admiral Sam Paparo, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited the Center to engage in a roundtable discussion with Oceania subject matter experts. The participants represented premier experts from three organizations located on Oahu: DKI APCSS, the East-West Center, and the Pacific Forum.
According to DKI APCSS professor Dr. Ethan Allen, the three organizations have differing missions, are staffed by people of varying backgrounds, and bring distinct regional experiences to the dialogue.
Said Allen, “It is precisely this diversity that engenders a greater collective intelligence, a larger ‘solution space’ as it were, wherein ADM Paparo and his staff may find more and better options for managing the complex challenges they face.”
Said Paparo, “These sessions afford us something we cannot find anywhere else. An avenue of knowledge that makes us much, much more effective. Thank you to DKI APCSS, East-West Center, and Pacific Island Forum for participating in this. It’s become a good habit to avail ourselves of this wisdom that comes from these three institutions.”
For Paparo, his upcoming visit to Oceania will present an opportunity to focus on “what our partners want and need.” The participants discussed several issues that represent growing areas of concern for Pacific Island nations, specifically, climate change, IUU fishing, piracy, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
East-West Center professor Dr. Tammy Tabe partook in the discussion providing her perspective as both a subject matter expert and a Pacific Islander.
“To have an interest in some understanding of the Pacific before actually visiting it, I think that is incredible,” said Tabe. “[As a Pacific Islander], I feel like we are respected. Getting our perceptions, we feel valued.”
The engagement represents Paparo’s fourth visit to the Center this year.