Talofa lava! It is an honor and privilege for me to extend our warmest American Samoa greetings to the participants and guests from the Pacific and beyond who will join us from July 20 – August 2, 2008 to celebrate the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts.
Since its inception in 1972, the Festival of Pacific Arts has become recognized as the premiere arts celebration in the region, where twenty-seven Pacific Island countries and territories gather to promote mutual appreciation of Pacific cultures, strengthen ties, and develop a Pacific consciousness of maintaining our traditions in a fast-paced global era.
American Samoa has chosen Su'iga'ula a le Atuvasa: Threading the Oceania 'Ula as our theme for the 2008 celebration. The 'Ula or necklace is an adornment that represents respect, warmth, and excitement of a festive occasion and is used to greet guests and participants in the beginning of any event. We can’t think of a more fitting way to prepare for the coming together of Pacific people to share their values, traditions, and spirit on the soils of Samoa.
In the meantime, the people of American Samoa—school children, communities, and village and church groups have begun the exciting work of weaving together our “Oceanic ‘Ula” to ensure that the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts is worthy of Pacific people’s unique heritage.
The Festival Committee and volunteers are actively preparing Festival venues and coordinating exhibitions to showcase traditional architecture and traditional art from around the Pacific region. Liaison officers and interpreters are gearing up to meet and host their respective Island groups. Forums and symposiums on Pacific film and tattoo, as well as literary arts are being carefully organized so that everyone can experience the diversity of Pacific cultures and discuss important issues that impact Pacific communities.
We look forward to greeting each member of the Pacific family and our guests with American Samoa’s “’Ula” of hospitality. Your participation will truly make this an exciting and collective endeavor to celebrate Pacific traditions with purpose, map our Oceanic future with confidence, and strengthen Pacific roots, which no vastness of ocean can sever.
TOGIOLA T.A. TULAFONO
Governor of American Samoa