(Kolonia, Pohnpei) The early morning of August 12 started off with music, rain showers, sunrise and a beautiful rainbow to kick off the 2nd 5K Color Run in commemoration of International Youth Day at the Spanish Wall in Kolonia. The U.S. Embassy joined the rest of the world in celebrating this day of focus upon the importance of youth in our society.
The United Nations General Assembly first established the annual International Youth Day on August 12, 2000. They chose this year’s theme, “Youth Building Peace,” to highlight and generate awareness of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth today. Ambassador Robert Riley described it in his welcoming remarks as, “The United Nations uses this day to focus on the issues challenging the youth of today and to support them in overcoming those barriers to achieve global peace, prosperity, and security. So, as we set off today, as we run and walk alongside our neighbors; as we steep in the dazzling sun, take in the lovely Pohnpei vistas, and are permeated with bright colored powder; as we approach and then attain the coveted finish line; let us all reflect on ways we can foster youth building peace.”
Prior to the Color Run the U.S. Embassy launched a social media campaign on its official Facebook and Twitter pages showcasing some of Micronesian youths’ take on some of the issues impacting youth. “I hope to see more of the youth of the FSM see their cultural identity as fuel for their passions towards making our islands a better place. Being away from home, my identity as a Micronesian has motivated me to excel in my education with the end goal of returning home and improving our islands. It is that burning sense of love for the FSM that the youth needs that will help strengthen peace and unity in our islands for the years to come,” wrote Hitoshi Phillip Oue from the state of Pohnpei who is currently enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Ms. Sylvia Elias from the state of Pohnpei was selected as the guest speaker for the event and spoke of her challenges and successes. She recently graduated with a M.A. in Social Work from University of Hawaii through the Distance Education Program. She is currently the Office Assistant at the Upward Bound Program and also an advocate for the Family Safety Act, which will strengthen laws against domestic and family violence in Pohnpei. During her speech she urged youth to take action, follow their dreams, speak out, challenge themselves, and become active members of the communities to build peace. She stated “Everyone should know today that youths can make a difference, we are able, we can contribute, we can provide, we can protect, and we can build peace in our society. Hear us and use us because we have a lot to offer and to learn. Let’s celebrate International Youth Day every year to recognize the works and value of our youths in our nation.”
Following Ms. Elias’s speech, Youth 4 Change performed a flash mob to an original song entitled “HERE THE WORLD, HERE WE ARE; WE ARE READY NOW TO MOVE FORWARD; CAN YOU HEAR MY VOICE, HEAR ME CALL; SONS OF PAST, NOW LEADERS OF FUTURE.” The United Filipino Community of Pohnpei Zumba team kicked off the Color Run with a warm up dance to get people hyped up and ready to run. The FSM Boxing Association led the cool-down session following the run.
We would like to take this time to congratulate the winners of the 2017 U.S. Embassy 5K Color Run and Raffle
Raffle Winner: Bradley Zarred (Prize: Mountain Bike)
Top Finisher’s: Reloliza Saimon (Female) and Casey Henry (Male) (Prizes:Fitbit for each winner)
Masters: Darcy William (Female) and Charles Meeme (Male) (Prizes: Table Tennis Set and Badminton Set
Prime: Casey Henry (Male) and Elina Sheperd (Female) (Prizes: Basketball and Volleyball Set)
Youth: Reloliza Saimon (Female) and Casey Henry (Male) (Prizes:Volleyball Set and Badminton Set)
12 & Under: Kiliboy Bicky (Male) and Jewel Desilva (Female) (Prizes: Basketball and Table Tennis Set)