SAMOA DEPUTY PM MISA EXPLORES SOLUTIONS TO GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 19, 2002 - Samoa News)---Samoa Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni Retzlaff will discuss the issue of public sector corruption as a major impediment to developing the economies of small countries in a major address September 30 at The World Bank.

Misa is also Samoa's Minister of Finance and chairman of the World Bank's Small States Forum.

He will focus in particular on how the United States and other Western countries can help small states break the recurring pattern of public sector corruption while taking account of societal differences and being sensitive to differing cultural imperatives in a lecture entitled "Good Governance: Pathway to Small State Prosperity - A Role for America and the West?"

Organized jointly by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's Center for Australia and New Zealand Studies and Asian Studies Program, the lecture will be held in the World Bank's Preston Auditorium immediately following the Bank's annual Small States Forum.

"We are particularly honored to have a small state leader of Misa's caliber accept our invitation to deliver the inaugural Peter Tali Coleman Lecture on Pacific Public Policy," said Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, the Dean of Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

"This is an important series that will draw attention to issues peculiar to small states and territories, an often neglected segment of the world community," he said in a press statement.

"I am humbled and deeply appreciative of this invitation," Misa said in a joint statement with Dean Gallucci. "I look forward to taking advantage of this opportunity to make a contribution to the dialogue between the Western and developing worlds."

In the World Bank setting with so many other small state leaders expected to be in attendance, Misa's lecture is expected to draw more high-level attention than might otherwise be the case if delivered on a university campus.

"That is why we were delighted to collaborate with the World Bank on this project," Dean Gallucci said.

The dean was a career member of the U.S. diplomatic corps before joining Georgetown.

The Lecture, which memorializes the late Governor Peter Tali Coleman, of American Samoa, who was a graduate of the Georgetown College ('49) and Law School ('51), is a component of the Georgetown Pacific Project, a program developed in 1998 between the University and a group of Pacific territories and countries under the leadership of Guam Governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez, the founding chairman of the Council of Micronesian Chief Executives.

Governor Coleman was a four-term governor of American Samoa and chief executive of two other island groups that are now the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Governor Gutierrez will have completed two terms as governor of Guam in January, 2003.

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PETER TALI COLEMAN

Upon his retirement from office on January 3, 1993 as the nation's senior governor, Peter Tali Coleman was the first and today remains the only person in American history whose service as governor has spanned five decades. He served as the first popularly elected Governor of American Samoa (1978-85), was elected again in 1988 and also has the distinction of being his territory's only federally appointed, native-born governor (1956-61). His appointment by the Eisenhower Administration made him one of the first islanders to serve as a head of government anywhere in the Pacific.

After his appointive term in American Samoa ended, the Governor spent nearly 17 years in the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands where, as the first Pacific islander to head the governments of the now-Republic of the Marshall Islands (1961-65) and the now-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (1965-69), he is believed to be the only Pacific islander to have headed three of the 21 governments of the modern insular Pacific. He also was the first U.S. citizen ever to have been accorded an honorary Marshall Islands citizenship, an honor accorded him by a special act of the Nitijela (parliament).

During the Nixon Administration Governor Coleman was appointed deputy high commissioner of the Trust Territory (1969-76), the second-ranking position in the central government of Micronesia. While in Micronesia he and his wife were the only Americans invited to participate in a private ceremony sponsored by the Japan-based Association of Bereaved Families, in recognition of his efforts to repatriate to Japan the remains of World War II servicemen who died in action on Saipan. Upon the resignation of the high commissioner, Coleman was appointed as his successor in an acting capacity until the end of the Ford Administration (1976-77). Thereafter he returned to American Samoa to seek election as governor.

Barred by law from seeking a third successive term of office in the 1984 election, Governor Coleman returned to the practice of law in 1985 after a nearly uninterrupted span of 33 years in public service. Between his third and fourth terms, he was senior partner in the law firm of Coleman & Fa'alevao, served as founding chairman of the Republican Party of American Samoa and was honorary consul for the Republic of Nauru. While in private practice he also undertook a number of special assignments for President Reagan and his administration. He was a member of the U.S. delegations to the centenary observance of the U.S.-Tonga Treaty of Friendship (1988), the Pacific Democrat Union Conference in Fiji (1987) and the Second Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in Rarotonga (1985). He also was a featured speaker on New Caledonia at the Hoover Institution Conference on the South Pacific in Washington (1987) and chaired the Pacific Futures Conference in Honolulu (1986). During the 1988 presidential campaign, Coleman served as counsel to the Pacific Advisory Committee of George Bush's Fund for America's Future. In 1992 he served as chairman of American Samoa's Bush-Quayle '92 committee and was an honorary national chair of Asian Americans for Bush-Quayle '92.

A widely recognized regionalist, Governor Coleman was active in numerous Pacific organizations throughout his public career. He was a member of either the U.S. or American Samoa delegations to the South Pacific Conference nine times between 1958 and 1992 and was head of delegation to the Conference annually between 1980-84, except 1982 when he both hosted and chaired the Conference in Pago Pago. He was the first host to invite the international private sector to participate in the Conference and completely financed the government's direct costs through corporate sponsorships. Earlier, in 1959, he had been the first governor to invite the Conference to be held in an American territory and was instrumental in making the preparations for the 1962 Conference prior to completing his first term as governor. At a special SPC meeting in Canberra in 1983 and later that year at the Conference in Saipan, Coleman was a leading voice in the debate that led to equal membership in SPC for Pacific territories. In 1992 he led the American Samoa delegation to the SPC conference in Tonga to help lead the final debate on the future site of SPC headquarters. In 1989 he led the American Samoa delegation to the Wellington Convention that banned driftnet fishing in the South Pacific. He participated in the historic summit President Bush hosted in Honolulu with leaders of the Forum island countries (1990) and, on behalf of the Pacific governors maintained liaison with the White House on the development of the Bush initiatives in the region.

Among his achievements, Governor Coleman is the first person of Samoan ancestry to serve as attorney general of American Samoa (1955-56) and public defender (1952-55), and was the first to receive a law degree from a U.S. university (1951). He was the first governor of American Samoa to belong to the National Governors' Association (1960) and was the first and only territorial governor to serve as chairman of the Western Governors' Conference (1980). He also was the first territorial governor to be elected as a member of the executive committee of the Republican Governors Association (1989-93). He chaired the NGA nominating committee in 1990, becoming the first territorial governor to chair an NGA standing committee. He chaired the convention that produced his territory's first constitution (1960) and his administration produced the territorial flag and seal that same year. A founding member (1980) of the Pacific Basin Development Council (PBDC), Coleman also was the first territorial governor to be elected president of that organization (1982-83) and served a second term in 1990-91. He was the first U.S. Pacific territorial governor to have been elected to successive terms of office and the first to have been elected three times (1977, 1980, 1988). At the conclusion of his fourth term, he had served as a governor longer than all but a handful of individuals in American history.

Coleman also twice sat on the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (1982-85; 1989-93). The committee of 11 Pacific government leaders sets policy for the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu during the intervals between meetings of the full Conference. The Governor led the American Samoa delegation to the 1980 and 1990 conferences. He was also on the founding board of the Pan Pacific Alliance for Trade and Development and served as an advisor to the U.S. delegation that negotiated the 1981 Treaties of Friendship with Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tokelau and the Cook Islands. He was a founding member of the Offshore Governors' Forum (OGF), which he chaired from 1992-93, and was founding chairman of the Alliance of Dependent Territories (ADT) in 1992.

In 1988, Coleman stepped down as Republican Party chairman and became the territory's first National Committeeman following the Republican National Convention in New Orleans where American Samoa was granted full voting rights. Upon the delegation's return home from the Convention, he opened his gubernatorial campaign and was the only challenger to unseat an incumbent Democratic governor anywhere in the country in November, a situation which was reversed in 1992. He led his delegation both to the 1992 Houston convention and to San Diego in 1996, and served on the Platform Committee both years. He served on the Republican National Committee's Standing Committee on Rules from 1988 to his death.

Peter Tali Coleman was born on December 8, 1919 in Pago Pago, American Samoa, where he received his primary education. He graduated from St. Louis High School in Honolulu, joined the National Guard and then enlisted in the United States Army at the outbreak of World War II. Assigned to the Pacific during the war, he was stationed in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in addition to Hawaii, ultimately rising to the rank of captain and served aboard the vessel that later was immortalized on film as The Wackiest Ship in the Army. He was the first Samoan to be inducted into the U.S. Army Officers' Candidate School Hall of Fame at Ft. Benning, Georgia (1982). After the war he enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in economics (1949) as a John Hay Whitney Foundation fellow. While in college, Coleman began his civilian, federal service as a staff secretary to a Member of Congress from Ohio (1946-47) and later served on the U.S. Capitol Police (1948-51). After brief service in the Office of Territories at the U.S. Department of Interior (1951-52), he returned to American Samoa, where he became public defender and established a private law practice.

His past and current memberships and activities include the Hawaii Territorial Society of Washington, D.C. (founding member), the Capitol Hill Club and the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America (advisory board member). In 1991 he received the coveted Silver Beaver Award for his pioneering work in the scouting movement in Samoa and Micronesia. He was also a member of the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf. He was a member of the bars of the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. District Court in Hawaii as well as the High Courts of American Samoa, the old Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and the Supreme Court of the United States. He also was granted an honorary LLD by the University of Guam (1970) where he was cited as "Man of the Pacific" and received an honorary doctorate from Chaminade College (1976). He also served as chairman of the board of the banks of American Samoa (1956-61) and Micronesia (1972-77) and was a member of the board of the Micronesia Institute from 1992 to 1997.

Governor Coleman's travels took him to Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and throughout the Pacific, where he visited nearly all of the 21 island nations and territories. His biography appeared in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Politics and other major reference books. He once was characterized in the respected Pacific Magazine as being "a man who is probably on a first name basis with everybody who is anybody from the heart of the Pacific Islands to their most distant corners."

After his retirement, Governor Coleman divided his time between residences in Pago Pago and Honolulu with his wife of 55 years, the former Nora K. Stewart of Hawaii. At the time of his death at his family home in Hawaii on April 28, 1997, he was survived by twelve of his thirteen children, 24 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Governor Coleman was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

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