Category - Economics

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Castro Mudong: At Home While Away
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Asinech Hellan Pangelinan: At Home While Away
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Tom Raffapiy: At Home While Away
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Are They Ours or Theirs?
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A Few Weeks in Palau
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Back to School at Fordham
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The Band of Brothers Hits DC
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Facing the Future: Forum in Palau

Castro Mudong: At Home While Away

Castro Mudong

Salem, Oregon, is just a few miles south of Portland–one of the largest concentrations of Micronesians in the mainland US. The grandfather of the Pohnpeian community there is Castro Mudong, the former police chief on Pohnpei before moving to the US to serve for years in the Portland area. Because of his seniority Castro presides at events like the softball tournament held there last summer. Read More

Asinech Hellan Pangelinan: At Home While Away

Asinech Hellan Pangelinan

Here’s Asinech Hellan Pangelinan at work as an optometrist in Phoenix and at home with her young child. She made the move to the US when she finished high school in Chuuk and remained there ever since. She may have left, but a good part of her remains in the islands, as you’ll see from the charity work she does and the songs she sings. Read More

Are They Ours or Theirs?

Micronesian migrants are in the news again. No surprise at all, I suppose. They’re always in the news. And they are also very much on my mind.

In mid-January I paid a visit to the Chuukese community living in Milan, Minnesota (a town of 350), whose migrant population has grown from 140 at my visit a year ago to 180 now. After our Sunday mass and baptism, they arranged a little get-together with the obligatory basketball followed by songs, dances and food. But the gathering had to be scheduled early enough so that many of them could make their graveyard work-shift at the local turkey processing plant beginning at 8 PM.
Read More

A Few Weeks in Palau

Here we are in Palau, an island group with a per capita income four times higher than that of the rest of Micronesia. “The Land of Gold Chains and Fancy Watches” is what one of our Jesuit volunteer teachers used to call it some years ago. It’s a place that is on the map–-Darryl Hannah and JFK Jr. vacationed here 20 years ago, and the Survivor TV series was filmed here ten years ago. The country has been self-governing for only 35 years, but it has had two presidents who died violent deaths–-one who was assassinated and another who shot himself. It’s never exactly been Dullsville here in Palau. Where else, a friend once asked, could you strike up a serious conversation on current political affairs with a total stranger? Read More

Back to School at Fordham

I enjoyed a rare treat today, an opportunity to talk to a group of 30 Fordham students about the islands. The students were graduate students in Henry Schwalbenberg’s IPED program. The acronym stands for International Political Economy and Development. The students are largely people who have stars in their eyes (in the best sense) and have hopes of changing the world. One of them is shown in the photo above–Gabe Rossi, a former Jesuit Volunteer who just finished two years at Xavier High School (he’s the one on the left). The program director, Henry Schwalbenberg, might be unrecognizable to those of you who knew him when he worked with MicSem in Chuuk 30 years ago doing political education at the time that the island nations were still pondering their political future. He’s put on a few pounds since then, as you can see from the photo (he’s the bearded man in the center). Read More

The Band of Brothers Hits DC

The island team was in Washington the week of January 13th to do a presentation at the Department of Interior on the performance of the Micronesian economies over the past ten years (2003-2013). This marks the half-way point of the new Compact funding period, so it was a chance to find out how well the island nations are doing. Read More

Facing the Future: Forum in Palau

What are the major problems and opportunities in the development of small Pacific Island nations? What are the pathways for the future in Micronesia? What directions should governance take in the light of all this?

These were the questions posed in a televised three hour forum discussion held in Palau last week. Read More

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