Conference Delegate & Participant – Duane Vickery

Reasons Why We Are Here…

The first reason is to SHARE. To share is to give. Many people attend conferences to get something out of it, to take something away, which is important. However, in order to take something away from this conference we must first give. A reason for this conference is to share your wisdom, experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas. By sharing we will connect and bond together. Therefore in order to share I believe our thinking should be; ‘what can I offer, not what can I get or take.’

The second reason why we are here is connected to the first reason, and that’s to LEARN. As people share this weekend take the opportunity to learn. We best learn by respectfully and actively listening to others. We will learn by participating in discussions and sharing opinions, thoughts and ideas, particularly when it comes to discussing how we can effectively progress the work in securing the future of South Sea Islanders living here and abroad.

While we are here to share and learn from each other during this conference, it is important to set the standard as to how we can do this effectively. As we engage and interact with one another and discuss business we need to do so in a RESPECTFUL manner. As South Sea Islanders committed to leading this process of change and development we can best demonstrate respect by ensuring our behaviours and comments are respectful at all times as we passionately engage in discussion and debate about our future.

We all have the opportunity at this conference to provide good leadership where we can ‘model the way’ with appropriate behaviours and attitudes in accordance with the spirit of the conference. We have the opportunity to ‘inspire a shared vision’ for South Sea Islanders by actively listening and sharing and providing constructive comments. We have the opportunity to create a safe workshop environment where ‘others are encouraged to act’ without fear or prejudice, where we can discuss and ‘challenge the process’ in order to improve the way we do business as individual ASSI associations or as a future national representative body. Lastly and most importantly we need ‘encourage the heart’ by respectfully acknowledging the efforts and commitment of people who have devoted their times and means to coordinating this national conference and for participating in a respectful way.

Lastly, as we gather here this weekend I would like you to reflect on our elders and family members who have gone before us. They have left each one of us with a LEGACY to reflect on, a legacy which can inspire us into action.

I am the great great grandson of Stephen Sufalissie aka Toby Stephen (Malaita, Solomon Islands) son of Conson  and Cocol, and Kate Latow (Mellicoola Vanuatu) the daughter of Rangon and Loo (Leo). I am the great grandson of Simon Baggow (Opa/Ambae Island, Vanuatu) son of Boovy and Mavery, and Minnie Pebby daughter of John and Lizzie Pebby. My descendants’ legacy has been passed down to me. In order to leave a legacy for future South Sea Islander generations it is my responsibility and my obligation to continue creating a legacy, a legacy which in part will be created over the events of this weekend.

I respectfully ask that each delegate and participant attending this conference does so with a giving and sharing heart with a genuine desire to build a legacy which will serve the present and future generations of South Sea Islanders while honouring our past and present Elders.

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