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Our mission is to Support, Educate, Inspire, and Elevate our islander people living here in the United States.

Pacific Islanders are struggling in the United States. Despite being the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, we are sadly far behind the rest of the nation in education, health, and civic engagement. It is the goal of this website to combat these challenges.

We believe that by streamlining our passions, resources, efforts, and unifying our voices, we, the people of the Pacific Islands, can help each other prosper and thrive. We as a whole can create better access to opportunity for islander families and future generations to come.

"The Ocean does not divide Pacific Islander communities as much as it connects them."-Satawalan Master Navigator, Mau Piailug


10:00 am 21st Annual Bay Area Aloha Festival @ San Mateo County Event Center
21st Annual Bay Area Aloha Festival @ San Mateo County Event Center
Aug 6 @ 10:00 am – Aug 7 @ 5:00 pm
21st Annual Bay Area Aloha Festival @ San Mateo County Event Center | San Mateo | California | United States
Aloha Festival 2016 The Pacific Islanders’ Cultural Association (PICA) will be holding its annual Aloha Festival on August 6 & 7, 2016!  For this year’s event, we are again at the San Mateo County Event Center (home of the San Mateo County Fair) … Continue reading

Most recent articles

Congratulations to the Palau Community College Graduates

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Articles


58 graduate from Palau Community College

Palau Community College held its 53rd Commencement Exercises last Friday, May 13.

A total of 58 graduates received degrees in the following programs: agricultural science, criminal justice, early childhood education, elementary education, special education, environmental/marine science, liberal arts, nursing career ladder, STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) disciplines, business accounting, business administration, information technology, office administration, tourism & hospitality: food & beverages, tourism & hospitality: hotel operations, tourism & hospitality: tour services, automotive mechanics technology, electrical technology, general electronics technology, and small engine & outboard marine technology.

A total of 15 graduates were recognized for completing the PCC Adult High School Program. Also commemorated were the 21 graduates who completed the San Diego State University Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and the 14 graduates who completed the Substance Abuse Treatment Counseling Program.

Commencement officiators included Ibedul Yutaka M. Gibbons, Reklai Raphael B. Ngirmang, Honorable Minister of Education Sinton Soalablai (present on behalf of Republic of Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.), Pastor John Zimmer, SDSU Institute Collaborative for Distance Learning and Center for Pacific Studies Project Coordinator & Instructional Designer Dr. Theresa Lally, PCC Board of Trustees Chairperson Masa-Aki N. Emesiochl, Honorable Minister of State Billy G. Kuartei (also the Vice Chairman of the PCC Board of Trustees), PCC Board of Trustees Member Jemmy Blelai, PCC Student Trustee Rdiall L. Tellei, PCC President Dr. Patrick U. Tellei, PCC Dean of Continuing Education William O. Wally, and PCC Dean of Academic Affairs Robert Ramarui.

The ceremony opened with the processional song and a rendition of the Palau National Anthem by the PCC Music Club. Pastor Zimmer followed with the invocation. PCC President Dr. Tellei gave the welcoming remarks that recognized honored guests including high officials from the Ninth Olbiil Era Kelulau and the Palau Diplomatic Corps.

PCC Student Trustee Rdiall L. Tellei followed with an introduction of the commencement speaker, Dr. Gregory J. Dever. Dr. Dever is a well-respected member of the Pacific medical society. He is the current Director of the Palau Area Health Education Center and also serves as the Coordinator of the Pacific Islands Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA) Regional Human Resources for Health. Over the years, Dr. Dever has written numerous articles regarding the health and the healthcare system of the Pacific region. Highlights of his impressive medical career include being a Pediatrician & Clinical Faculty at John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii in Manoa and serving as Director of Clinical Services for the Belau National Hospital.

Palau Community College is an accessible public educational institution helping to meet the technical, academic, cultural, social, and economic needs of students and communities by promoting learning opportunities and developing personal excellence.

In his speech, Dr. Dever congratulated the graduates on completing their respective degree programs. He highlighted the importance of perseverance, the act of doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. He quoted Galatians 6:9 which reads, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.” To the graduates, he advised that they continue to persevere regardless of the difficulties. Dr. Dever also recognized the graduates’ tremendous support system, which included family members, friends, employers, and academic counselors.

Mr. Nelson Masang, Jr., a graduate of the PCC Liberal Arts Program, was the Valedictorian of the Palau Community College Class of 2016. In his address, Mr. Masang commended his fellow graduates on completing this leg of their learning journey. Palau Community College had not been Mr. Masang’s first choice in a post-secondary learning institution. He had been under the impression that higher learning was accomplished outside of Palau. His experiences at PCC taught him that learning can be done anywhere. Being a student at Palau Community College was an opportunity for him to learn more about his home. To his fellow graduates, Mr. Masang encouraged that they all try to do great things and become proud representatives of their islands.

The Micronesian Occupational College/Palau Community College Alumni Association also presented awards to the graduates for best grade point average (GPA) and best effort. The Best GPA Award was presented to Noelani Ngiramengior (Automotive Mechanics Technology Program), Connor Yuri (Criminal Justice Program), Sheila J. Pedro (Nursing Career Ladder), Lashawnda E. Olikong (Office Administration Program), and Evan Fritz (Environmental/Marine Science Program). The Best Effort Award was presented to Spencer Remoket (Automotive Mechanics Technology Program), Koliano Yaiungeitiw (Electrical Technology Program), Connor Yuri (Criminal Justice Program), John Ochalibul (Agricultural Science Program), Allyn K. Kikuharu (Nursing Career Ladder), Pracy Masubed (Office Administration Program), Essie Cailao (Early Childhood Education Program), and Evan Fritz (Environmental/Marine Science Program).

The following seven graduates were members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society-Beta Zeta Omicron Chapter: Nelson Masang Jr., Masami N. Andreas, Allyne K. Kikuharu, Sheila J. Pedro, Six N. Ridep, Velda F. Lechol, and Judah T. Sibetang. Dr. Theresa Lally recognized the graduates of the Bachelor’s Degree Program on behalf of San Diego State University. The commencement exercises ended with the recognition of the students and closing remarks from PCC Board of Trustees Chairperson Masa-Aki N. Emesiochl. The recessional march of the graduates followed the benediction from Pastor Zimmer.

To learn more about the programs of Palau Community College, please contact PCC Dean of Academic Affairs Robert Ramarui at (680) 488-2470/2471 or email Dean Ramarui at

Lola Sablan Santos

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 in Islander Elevation Spotlight

lola-sablanLola Sablan Santos is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Guam Communications Network (GCN), a California-based, non-profit organization and multi-service agency serving the Chamorro/Guamanian population in Southern California. She has been involved in community-based health education and outreach targeting Chamorros and other Pacific Islanders since 1994 and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of bi-lingual health education materials and curriculums on tobacco control, diabetes, fish contamination, cardiovascular health, and breast cancer.

In addition, Ms. Sablan Santos has been involved in community-based participatory research (CBPR) since 1999. She is currently Shared Principal Investigator with Dr. Sora Park Tanjasiri (CSUF) on “Pap Test Intervention to Enhance Decision Making Among Pacific Islander Women” funded by NCI and a community member of the Special Service for Groups, Institutional Review Board (IRB), based in Los Angeles, CA. Lola Sablan Santos has made sure that Pacific Islanders across the country gained insight and resources for over two decades and for this, she is our April non profit edition Islander Spotlight.

Springdale gains Marshallese newspaper and radio station

Posted on Apr 2, 2016 in News

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 12.30.21 PMSPRINGDALE — Locals started a Marshallese language newspaper and radio station last year, both hoping to be go-to sources for information in that community.

The two are like the eyes and ears of the Marshallese community, said Benetick Maddison, educational outreach coordinator for the Marshallese Educational Initiative. The initiative is a nonprofit organization focused on Marshallese awareness and education, according to its website.

Web watch

To learn more about Marshallese in Northwest Arkansas and the history of the Marshall Islands and the United States, go to and click on “Marshallese in Arkansas” and “Nuclear Issues” in the bar near the top.

The newspaper and radio station are important because they let people know what is happening in Northwest Arkansas and the Marshall Islands, Maddison said.

The radio station is culturally important because the songs contain Marshallese language, Maddison said. Hearing the language helps young Marshallese people learn it.

As of 2010, 5.7 percent of the population in Springdale, 2 percent of the population in Washington County and 0.3 percent of the population in Benton County was native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, according to the U.S. Census Bureau website. The Marshallese population is categorized as Pacific Islander in census records.

In print

The first volume of Chikin Melele printed Sept. 23, said Patrick Boaz Sr., who edits and publishes the newspaper.

The paper started as an idea from Gomez Zackious, a police officer with the Springdale Police Department, Boaz said. “Chikin” in the newspaper’s title would normally start with a “J” in Marshallese, Boaz said. They changed the “J” to a “Ch” as a reference to chickens in Springdale. The title of the paper translates to a place of inquiry.

The paper has carried articles in English and Marshallese, Boaz said, written by fewer than 10 volunteers.

He would like to print the paper twice a month, but so far it has been printed monthly. The paper is available at local Marshallese stores.

It also is available in Enid, Okla., and in Salt Lake City because there are large Marshallese communities in those cities, Boaz said. They also have sent some newspapers to the Marshall Islands. He said they eventually would like to distribute the newspaper to all of the Marshallese communities in the continental United States.

The paper is printed in Alabama and sent to Northwest Arkansas, Boaz said. Boaz and partners Zackious and Mike Beasha pay to produce the paper. All three are fluent in Marshallese.

The paper costs $2 a copy but most likely will be free beginning with the next issue, Boaz said. There is not yet a website for the paper.

On the air

Joe Hart applied to the Federal Communications Commission for the radio license for KMRW 98.9 FM about three years ago. The station went on air Dec. 16.

KMRW is a noncommercial station, which is similar to a nonprofit organization, Hart said. It is a low-power FM station, which covers most of Springdale.

Hart has owned two other stations in the past, he said. The idea of a Marshallese radio station came about when he was trying to find an audience that wasn’t being served.

The station focuses on Marshallese culture and language, Hart said. It is mostly music, but he would like to add more talk programming.

Hart said he hopes the station will become a voice for the Marshallese community. Larry Muller, a native of the Marshall Islands, manages the station.

There isn’t a website for the station, but there is a Facebook page, Hart said.

The U.S. government and the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association in 1986, which allows Marshall Islands citizens unrestricted travel in the United States. This came after the United States tested nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands.

Marshallese migration to Northwest Arkansas started in the 1970s. Many came to the region for education and work opportunities. An estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Marshallese live in Northwest Arkansas, which is the largest population of Marshallese in the continental United States.

NW News on 03/28/2016
Written by Erin Spandorf
Photo by Michael Woods

Chuck Layosa

Posted on Mar 23, 2016 in Islander Elevation Spotlight

Chuck LayosaChuck Layosa is a native of Kauai, Hawaii and grew up in the small town of Kapa’a. As a teenager he left the comfort of his home to attend the prestigious and private college preparatory academy Kamehameha High School on the island of Oahu. Upon completing his secondary education Chuck elected to serve as a missionary for the LDS Church in the cities of San Jose and San Francisco, CA for two years before pursuing his post-secondary at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and Sports Medicine.

Throughout his career Chuck has combined his passion for leadership and education by serving in senior management positions in the outdoor sporting goods industry and the business of higher education. He earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2010 and currently serves as the Director of School Operations at the prestigious Paul Mitchell The School – Reno.

He enjoys an active family life with his college sweetheart Kati and their children and grand-children.

“There comes a time for each of us when we must become more than what we are” (Lloyd Alexander, 1966).

United Airline Ticket Discount to Guam for FestPac 2016

Posted on Mar 9, 2016 in News

Screenshot (4)

Islander Elevation would like to update everyone on how they can take advantage of this great deal! As one of the official sponsors of FestPac 2016, United Airlines is offering flights to Guam from ANY destination (excluding Japan) for a discounted price! However we found it a little tricky on where to redeem your promotion code. We took it upon ourselves to test it out and it indeed WORKS!

To redeem you promotion code for discounted tickets to Guam follow these instructions
1. Go to -United Airlines home page
2. Put in your flight information: From, To, Dates- Make sure your departing and returning flight dates are with the promotional dates May 17, 2016- June 9,2016.
3.**Very Important** Hit “All search options” not the search button.
4. You will be directed to a page with the same flight information, make sure everything is correct and AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE is where you enter the promotion code.

All flights that come up are at the Special Offer Price. If no flights show up then check if the code was entered in correctly. Hope this helps everyone with their travels to Guam!

Jay Rojas

Posted on Feb 11, 2016 in Islander Elevation Spotlight

jay-rojasJay Rojas was most recently the Washington D.C. representative for the Governor of Guam, the Honorable Eddie Baza Calvo. Although his primary role was to improve Guam’s relationship with the federal government, Mr. Rojas’ love for people and local spirit managed to also win the hearts of Chamorros and Guamanians across the country. From attending countless events, creating a virtual online group on Facebook with over 5,500 Guamanians and Chamorros called the “Guamanian Connection”, to his willingness to lend a helping hand to local business owners, Rojas’ service to his community has been impactful and inspiring. Islander Elevation is proud to honor and recognize Jay Rojas as this month’s I.E. spotlight.

Rojas recently moved back to Guam to head up the Guam Economic Development Authority as its Acting Administrator.