More than 60 female Parliamentarians from the region gathered at Gym 1 yesterday evening for the official opening of the 4th Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnership (P.W.P.P) Forum.
They were welcomed during an ava ceremony. Later, the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, opened the Forum.
“I want to begin my remarks with a bold and perhaps provocative statement. The greatest challenge for a successful democratic Pacific leader in the current Pacific context is not climate change, modernization or globalization,” he said. “It is simply being ill informed and unable to act constructively on matters of priority.”
His Highness Tui Atua encouraged the participants.
“To be able to appropriately manage the many challenges of modern Pacific life, we must as leaders be prepared to build, endorse, promote and sustain a culture of civic learning and critical dialogue that can generate the kind of analytical tool capable of properly recognizing our values and beliefs.
“That is the foundation of any true democracy. Good leadership in today’s Pacific world is about being able to balance the politics of power, the surround information of these tools, and the biases that come with it.”
According to His Highness Tui Atua, women have always had the ability to lead.
“In many Pacific cosmologies women are believed to be more attuned to the rhythm of nature including human nature. Women were believed to be endowed with the sacred gift of being able to grow and give birth to new life.
“Being female is viewed not as a limitation on one’s ability to lead or to have access to power but as strength.
“The most famous leaders in Samoa’s pre-context history are women. By this logic Samoan women were never prohibited or restricted by Samoan custom because of her gender to any role in traditional Samoan society including leadership roles.
“These were always available to her as long as she could demonstrate the ability to carry out the role well and have the support and love of her people.”
Leaving the female parliamentarians pondering on his words His Highness concluded with well wishes for the Forum.
“I wish this forum clear skies and smooth sailing as you move your conversations forward.”
After formalities regional guests were treated to a cocktail party where they mingled and enjoyed each other’s company. The annual Forum is organised by the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships (P.W.P.P), supported by the Australian Government through its Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative. The Forum starts proper today.