Nakoa meets island leaders in Palau, Guam

Posted on Apr 04 2022


U.S. Department of the Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs Keone Nakoa traveled to Palau and Guam last week, where he met with President Surangel Whipps Jr. in Palau and Gov. Lourdes “Lou” Leon Guerrero in Guam, among other meetings. This trip marks Nakoa’s first trip to these island areas since he assumed his role as deputy assistant secretary in the Biden-Harris administration and the first from Interior leadership since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am grateful to have had the ability to meet with our partners and colleagues in-person and on the ground in their respective island areas to learn and experience first-hand their unique circumstances, especially as we have important work to continue both with Palau and Guam,” said Nakoa. “Key to the success of our work is the strength of our relationships and the ability to keep our channels of communication open and clear. This trip establishes the important connections we have with Palau and Guam and assures all the insular areas of our efforts to highlight their value and importance to the American family. I appreciate the warm welcome I received from [Whipps] and [Leon Guerrero] during this productive trip. I look forward to visiting the rest of the insular areas in-person soon.”


In Palau, Nakoa also met with vice president Uduch Sengebau, Foreign Minister Gustav Aitaro, Finance Minister Caleb Udui, Minister of Health and Human Services Gaafar Uherbelau, and other ministers in the President’s Cabinet. Nakoa also met with U.S. Ambassador to the Palau John Hennessey-Niland, U.S. military senior defense liaison lead Capt. John Sullivan and others on the U.S. Embassy team. Sites visited by Nakoa while in Palau included the Belau National Hospital, National and State Parks, and the Belau National Museum, among others.

In Guam Nakoa also met with Rear Adm. Benjamin R. Nicholson, commander, Joint Region Marianas and other Department of Defense leaders. He also visited projects and sites supported with Office of Insular Affairs funding. (PR)

Press Release
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