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OIA Welcome President Toribion and Recognizes Fifty Years of Service by Haruo Willter

Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2009) – On his first official visit to Washington, D.C., since his inauguration, the President of Palau paid a courtesy visit to the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) before and after his meeting with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.  On behalf of the OIA staff, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula welcomed the President and congratulated him on his recent inauguration.

President Toribiong was accompanied by the Palau Minister of State, Sandra Pierantozzi (former Vice President of Palau); Palau's Ambassador to the U.S., Hersey Kyota; the Palau Permanent Representative to the U.N., Colin Beck, Palau Senator Regina K. Mesebeluu, the Palau Minister of Health, Doctor Victor Yano, the President's Chief of Staff, Ngira Tmetuchl; Special Assistant Haruo Willter; and Counsel Kevin Kirk.

A highlight of the President's visit to OIA was a special presentation to recognize Mr. Haruo Willter for fifty years of government service.  Until the end of 2008 Mr. Willter served as OIA Field Representative in Palau.  Mr. Willter has now joined President Toribiong's administration.

"We are proud to recognize your service to the Office of Insular Affairs but also more importantly your fifty years of service under the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) and the U.S. Government to the people of Palau and the greater Micronesia region," said Mr. Pula in presenting the award.

Mr. Haruo Willter served in numerous positions throughout the decades including several years in Koror as Deputy Director of the TTPI Office. He began his employment with the TTPI government in Guam in 1958, and spent many years in finance and budget positions after the TTPI moved to Saipan.  He was Minister of Administration for the government of Palau in the early 1980's and served as a personal envoy of former President of Palau, Lazarus Salii.  From 1990 to 2008 Willter worked with the Office of Insular Affairs in Palau, overseeing capital improvement and special projects for OIA in Palau, the FSM and the RMI.

The Office of Insular Affairs was very honored to be able to recognize Mr. Willter on the occasion of the visit by the President of Palau.
Presentation of Award to Mr. Willter in OIA conference room. [Photo credit: R. Beffrey, OIA]

President Toribiong and Mr. Pula present plaque to Mr. Willter. [Photo credit: R. Beffrey, OIA]

 President Toribiong and his Delegation with Acting DAS Pula and OIA Directors. [Photo credit: R. Beffrey, OIA]

OIA conference room. [Photo credit: R. Beffrey, OIA]

Yano, Mesebeluu, Pres. Toribiong, Kyota, Pula, Willter, Bussanich, Pierantozzi. [Photo credit: R. Beffrey, OIA]