Today (March 18), the Council of Indigenous Peoples held the opening ceremony of the 2023 International Indigenous Youth Forum regional (Guam) training session at the Pacific Islands Club in Guam. The ceremony was hosted by Chief Secretary Akiku Haisum, and opened with a traditional blessing chant by Leonard Iriarte, a senior from the Chamorro tribe in Guam. Consul General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Guam, Paul Chen, as well as experts and scholars who have long been dedicated to promoting the Chamorro language, culture, and navigation knowledge attended the ceremony.
Chief Secretary Akiku stated that the Council of Indigenous Peoples launched the Young Talent Cultivation Program for International Affairs in 2003 to cultivate young international indigenous talent. The Taiwan government subsequently relaunched the international organization, the Austronesian Forum, on August 1, 2018. The main purpose is to promote substantive exchange through language and culture, economic industry, human resources development, and academic exchange, to consolidate the world’s recognition of Austronesian culture and establish ongoing cooperation. The Young Talent Cultivation Program is a key work item of the forum. This is the first time that the Council of Indigenous Peoples has organized a regional training course in Guam, leading 24 outstanding youth from 11 countries and regions in Guam. Chief Secretary Akiku emphasized that this is a rare learning opportunity for the participants and a new milestone for the Council's 20-year youth empowerment plan.
Beginning on March 18, the training course invited Chamorro experts and scholars to serve as course lecturers and arranged visits to the Office of the Governor of Guam, to museums, the Department of Chamorro Affairs of Guam, cultural centers, language schools, organizations for navigation tradition preservation, and the Decolonization Commission. The closing ceremony is scheduled to be held on the morning of March 22. A total of 24 young people participated in the training course, including eight members of the Austronesian Forum (Guam, Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea), one observer (Belize), the United States, and eight outstanding young people from indigenous tribes in Taiwan (Amis, Paiwan, Atayal, Bunun, Rukai, Seediq, and Cou).