HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The first meeting of the Festival of Pacific Arts (FESTPAC) Commission convened January 4 to begin planning for the event being held in Hawai‘i in 2020.

At the inaugural meeting, Senator J. Kalani English was selected as the Chair for the FESTPAC Commission. Other Commission members include State Rep. Lynne DeCoite, Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism administrator Dennis Ling, Hawai‘i Tourism Association Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs Kalani Ka‘ana‘ana, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Community Engagement Director Mehana Hind, Mayor’s Office of Culture & the Arts Misty Kela‘i, and Kumu Hula Mapuana de Silva and Snowbird Bento.

FESTPAC is hosted every four years by a different Pacific Island nation. The festival was initiated by the Conference of the South Pacific Commission (now the Secretariat of the Pacific Community) to stem the erosion of traditional cultural practices. Since 1972, delegations from 27 Pacific Island countries and territories have gathered in an Olympic-style setting to showcase their indigenous culture through art, song, and dance. FESTPAC is considered an enormous tourism attraction as it brings in thousands of visitors from around the world who appreciate the work of artists, performers and cultural practitioners from different nations in Oceania. The festival also is an economic engine for participants by creating a global market for art, ideas, and indigenous products.

“I’m honored to chair this Commission which has the daunting task of coordinating this festival and ensure that it appropriately and vividly celebrates the richness and diversity of our indigenous cultures and art,” said Sen. English. “There’s much work to be done, but I’m confident with the caliber of the Commission members we will be able to present an unforgettable experience in 2020.”

During the 2016 FESTPAC in Guam, Hawai‘i was selected as the host for the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts which will be held June 11-27, 2020.

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