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HONOLULU, Hawaii (February 2, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---The role of cultural identity and values in Pacific Islands sustainable development will be a major topic of discussion when the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders meets at Honolulu's East-West Center Wednesday and Thursday.

The Director of the Honolulu-based Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), Dr. Sitiveni Halapua, who will make a formal presentation to the Leaders on the topic, says "The problems Pacific Islanders face in development have a lot to do with cultural identity.

"Governments cannot simply adopt what works elsewhere, in the West and Asia," the Tongan economist adds, "and expect economic miracles. You cannot separate cultural identity and values from human capabilities without creating development conflicts."

At its two-day meeting this week, the organization of regional Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Governors, Chaired by Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, also will consider plans by PIDP –which serves as the Secretariat and research arm for the Leaders' group-- to purse collaborative human resource development and private sector job creation research with the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands, the Institute of World Economics at the Free University of Berlin, and the Overseas Development Group of the School of Development Studies, the University of East Anglia, Britain.

Among other matters, the regional leaders will evaluate options for the future role and location of PIDP developed by a committee of consultants headed by Dr. Robert Kiste, Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaii.

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