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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs meets with FSM and CNMI Leadership



Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs meets with FSM and CNMI Leadership

Washington D.C. (January 17, 2008): On a recent trip to the Pacific Insular Areas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs Nikolao Pula met with the leaders of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). He was accompanied by Director of Budget Tom Bussanich and CIP Grants Manager Faride Komisar from the DC Office.

Director Pula, Mr. Bussanich, and Ms. Komisar joined Jim Benedetto, Jeffrey Schorr, and Keith Aughenbaugh of the OIA Field Office on Saipan from January 14-15 where they attended the Inauguration of the 16th Legislature and later met with Governor Fitial and Lt. Governor Villagomez. Director Pula and Governor Fitial discussed Capital Improvement Project (CIP) grants and infrastructure issues. Director Pula also met with Senate President Pete Reyes, the Chamber Boards, a few community groups, and took a tour of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

From January 17-18, Director Pula attended the FSM Chief Executive's Committee (CEC) meetings in Palikir, Pohnpei. The CEC meetings included President Mori, Vice President Alik, and all four FSM state governors. Matters discussed at the CEC included vocational education and training concepts, infrastructure grants, and government reform updates. Director Pula also presented Kosrae Governor Robert Weilbacher with an Operations and Maintenance Improvement Program (OMIP) grant. . Director Pula was accompanied by Steve Savage and Roylinne Wada from OIA Honolulu Field Office and OIA FSM Field Representative Vic Hobson.

Following the CEC, Director Pula met with US Ambassador Merriam Hughes and her staff. Their meeting concluded with a dinner hosted by the US Embassy in Kolonia. Director Pula departed for Washington, D.C., on January 18 while other OIA staff remained for more detailed meetings.

Director Pula and Tom Bussanich meet with CNMI leaders  Director Pula and Tom Bussanich meet with CNMI leaders. Photo provided by Faride Komisar.
 Director Pula and Faride Komisar (OIA) tour CUC Director Pula and Faride Komisar (OIA) tour CUC. Photo provided by Faride Komisar.
 College of Micronesia-FSM Hospitality and Tourism Management program students at the Pohnpei Campus Blue Plate Cafe and Director Pula College of Micronesia-FSM Hospitality and Tourism Management program students at the Pohnpei Campus Blue Plate Cafe and Director Pula