The annual Austronesian Forum was held in Taipei on Tuesday, focusing on traditional social and leadership structures in Austronesian cultures.
Originally scheduled to be held in the Marshall Islands, the forum was moved to the Grand Hotel in Taipei due to COVID-19 considerations, and is to be convened in the Marshall Islands next year.
It was the first forum to be attended by representatives from Hawaii, who joined representatives from 14 other regions.
Photo courtesy of the Council of Indigenous Peoples via CNA
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod, who chairs the forum, opened discussion of this year’s theme by sharing the traditional leadership structures within his own Amis culture.
Amis society has a “very strict age-class system,” wherein rigorous training and labor division apply to different age groups, he said in his opening remarks.
Training of the younger classes by the older classes allows the spirit of responsibility, discipline and labor division to be passed down through the generations, he said.
“However, just like many of the Austronesian peoples, the traditional leadership systems of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples have somewhat changed over time,” he added.
Icyang later chaired the forum’s Executive Council meeting, during which the attendees affirmed the past year’s achievements.
It was the second year of the forum’s six-year plan focusing on language and cultural exchange, regional industrial development, research, human resources development and basic administrative affairs.
Despite COVID-19, each part of the forum’s plan achieved results, which secretary-general Akiku Haisum shared with the council.
These included forums on Aboriginal languages, an international youth employment program, the Indigenous Peoples Economic Development Forum and a Web portal for Austronesian studies.
After a false start in 2008, the Austronesian Forum in its current form was convened in 2018 as a permanent platform for cooperation among Austronesian peoples.
Members include Taiwan, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, Palau, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Guam and Hawaii.
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