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Articles: Marshall Islands President Welcomed by Marshallese in Arkansas

Contributed by YokweOnline on May 24, 2008 - 09:35 PM

Marshall Islands President Welcomed by Marshallese in Arkansas



  • Marshallese officials visit area’s islanders - President Tommeing accompanied by his wife, Arlin; Phillip Muller, the Marshall Islands’ ambassador to the United Nations; and Ben Graham, the country’s ambassador to the United States.
  • Marshallese Gather To Celebrate - President Announces New Consulate Coming To Springdale. Both President Tomeing and DeBrum said problems facing the Marshallese community in the United States include health care, education and learning the life skills needed to get by in a new world that is in many ways foreign to them.
  • PHOTO: Litokwa Tomeing, president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands - Greeted Saturday by members of Northwest Arkansas' Marshallese community at Jones Center
  • Springdale High School Graduation - RMI President Litokwa Tomeing and first lady Arlin Tomeing, grandson received his diploma.
  • A Special Celebration - President Tomeing displayed his respect for both countries on his chest. "He's wearing a lapel pin that has an American flag and the Marshallese flag so that speaks volumes," says State Senator Bill Pritchard.
  • VIDEO: Marshallese Celebrate 29 Years Of Self-Government - Local live TV from Northwest Arkansas covers opening ceremony with President Litokwa Tomeing and Minister Tony deBrum


  • PRESIDENT:DeBrum also summarized the speech given by Tomeing in Marshallese. The president spoke of the importance of the constitution, the country’s most important document, deBrum said.“It defines who we are, and 29 years ago, it sheared the bonds of dependency that characterized our country,” deBrum translated.



    CONSULATE: Rhe largest Marshallese population outside the Pacific island nation will have soon have a fully staffed consulate in Springdale to help them, President Litokwa Tomeing said Saturday. Tomeing made the announcement as he opened a celebration of the 29th anniversary of the country's independence at the Jones Center for Families. "We are right now in the process of getting all the federal requirements so that we can proceed with the establishment of a consulate," Foreign Minister Tony DeBrum said. "We have the largest overseas Marshallese community in the world living here. So, it makes sense that we establish a consulate to look after their interests but as well to help and expedite in the process of settling in, this climitization." Life-skill issues include such things as finding housing, insurance, getting the kids in school and even obtaining a driver's license. The consulate would be able to help members of the community in all those areas, they said. "And, to make sure that we are contributing members of this community," DeBrum said. The event this weekend also includes health and job fairs. The delegation also attended graduation ceremonies at several area schools. President Tomeing had a grandson graduating and DeBrum had a nephew and a granddaughter graduating. There were 24 Marshallese students graduating from Springdale high schools this week. "We have long, extended families here," DeBrum said.



    GRADUATION: Springdale High Graduates number 371. RMI President Litokwa Tomeing and first lady Arlin Tomeing, there to see their grandson, Stanton Freeman Iban, receive his diploma.



    CELEBRATION: President Litokwa Tomeing walked into the Jones Center in Springdale as the voices of his people filled the air. They traveled from all over the United States to see him and he took time to shake every hand. Springdale is home to the largest Marshallese population in the U.S. Through the Compact of Free Association, the Marshallese are free to enter the U.S. legally, as non-immigrant aliens. A choir sang the Marshallese National Anthem followed by the National Anthem of the United States. President Tomeing displayed his respect for both countries on his chest. "He's wearing a lapel pin that has an American flag and the Marshallese flag so that speaks volumes," says State Senator Bill Pritchard. Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony deBrum hopes to bring the two cultures even closer together by establishing a consulate office in Springdale. "We are working hard with the local authorities and with the private sector as well, with the schools and the hospitals, to make sure that we are contributing members of this community," deBrum says

     

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