DOI ADR Conference Highlights Island Mediation Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs concluded its two-day Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference held in San Francisco at the State Bar of California.

The conference featured distinguished panelists and representatives from federal, state, and government agencies, attorney general offices, judiciaries, bar associations, and in-house counsel.

Opening remarks were delivered by Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta, who underscored the unique opportunity for island judiciaries and the legal community at both the local and federal levels to share experiences and best practices in resolving disputes.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye delivered the lunch keynote remarks, focusing on the State of California's judicial system, the importance and need for effective and robust dispute resolution centers as an increasingly viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation.

Vice President Alik L. Alik of the Federated States of Micronesia, on his first official visit to the United States since his reelection was also present. Vice President Alik discussed the similarities in ADR with integral components of Micronesian culture that seek to derive consensus and minimize confrontation when resolving disputes.

Distinguished insular area guests included:

American Samoa

  •  Hon. Elvis Patea, Judge, District Court of American Samoa
  •  Mr. Doug Fiaui, Assistant Counsel for the Governor of America Samoa

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • Hon. Miguel S. Demapan, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Federated States of Micronesia

  • Hon. Aliksa B. Aliksa, Chief Justice, Kosrae Supreme Court, Federated States of Micronesia


  • John Thos. Brown, Author, Guam Procurement Process Primer
  • Hon. F. Philip Carbullido, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Guam
  • Hon. Robert J. Torres, Justice, Supreme Court of Guam
  • Hon. Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court of Guam
  • Pat Wolff, Founder, Inafa' Maolek

Republic of Palau

  • Hon. Arthur Ngiraklsong, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau

Puerto Rico

  • Hon. Bruce McGiverin, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico
  • Hon. Jose R. Negron-Fernandez, Chief Judge, La Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico

Virgin Islands

  • Hon. Curtis V. Gomez, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands
  • Hon. Brenda J. Hollar, Judge, Superior Court of the Virgin Islands

Members of the local and federal California and international arbitration and mediation communities were also represented at the conference through the facilitation of the ADR organization, JAMS, and the law firm of Calvo, Fisher & Jacob.

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