Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas to Host Panel on Self Determination

Last edited 11/30/2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 12, 2016) – On Tuesday, February 23,  Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther Kia'aina will host a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on Self Determination in the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. 

The scope of the panel discussion is to focus on those U.S. territories – U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam – that are still listed on the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Since the last self-determination conference for the U.S. territories was held in 1993 in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary Kia'aina stated, "I believe it is important to provide an updated context for federal policy-makers and a new generation to learn about the status of self-determination in the respective territories as well as to understand what their rights are to self-determination under federal and international law."

Assistant Secretary Kia'aina will give opening remarks at 1:00 p.m. EST to be followed by presentations and discussions among panelists from Interior, the State Department, the Universities of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, and the American Samoa Community College.  The event will be livestreamed at

Esther Kia'aina
, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas,
U.S. Department of the Interior

Maria Lurie, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor,
U.S. Department of the Interior

Meredith Johnston, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Legal Adviser for Human
Rights and Refugees, U.S. Department of State

Dr. Malik Sekou, Professor of Political Science & History,
University of Virgin Islands

Dr. Dan Aga, Director of Community & Natural Resources,
American Samoa Community College

Dr. Robert Underwood, President, University of Guam

Panel Discussion – Self Determination in the U.S. Virgin Islands, American
Samoa, and Guam

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
1:00 pm– 4:30 pm EST

South Interior Building Auditorium
1951 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20240

The event is open to the public and will be live streamed for viewing

 The Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas carries out the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior in coordinating federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and also administers and oversees U.S. federal assistance to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. The Assistant Secretary executes these responsibilities through the Office of Insular Affairs.

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