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Frmr. Guam Congressman and (ret.) USMC Gen. Ben Blaz, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Papaliitele David Cohen chat with Aumua Amata
Amata Aumua and Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. At the White House Shamrock Ceremony, Ahern presented the Irish shamrock to President Bush to symbolize in a very special way the bonds between the Irish and American people. Following the ceremony the White House held a reception with an elaborate spread of food and drink to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day 2007. Said Amata, "Speaking as a proud Samoan with a wee bit of Irish heritage, it was truly an honor and I thank the President for including me."
ILF to Honor Aumua Amata at Annual Gala
Washington, D.C. The International Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the civic awareness, involvement and effectiveness of the future leaders of the Asian Pacific American community, will present Ms. Aumua Amata of American Samoa with it prestigious Visionary Award at its Annual Gala in Washington, D.C. on July 17.
In a letter of invitation to Amata, ILF Chairman Paul Hsu and President Derek Chen wrote "your life is an inspiration to us all and we feel your commitment to the Asian Pacific American community is unparalleled." The ILF leaders took particular note of Amata's service as a member of the President�s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PACAAPI).
During her term on the PACAAPI Amata served as chairman of the Community Security Subcommittee and also succeeded in persuading the Commission to devote a separate chapter to Pacific Islander health needs as part of its landmark report to the President on health care disparities in the nation�s AAPI communities. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Leadership staff, she established a data bank for APAs and other minorities who were interested in public service in the legislative branch of government.
"I am overwhelmed and humbled," said Amata in accepting ILF�s invitation to accept the visionary award. "In all of I have done in government, politics and in community activism, my goal always has been the same: to be of service to our people and advance their opportunities."
Since its founding in California in the 1990s, ILF has established a track record of recognizing individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the APA community, including such distinguished persons as Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, film star Jackie Chan and former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who is honorary chairman of the ILF board. Amata will have the distinction of being the first Samoan whose contributions have been recognized by ILF.
Each year ILF provides scholarships and organizational support for over 30 APA college students to participate in its Public Affairs Fellowship Program in Washington, DC. Students are selected who are likely to become leaders in the academic, business, community, professional or public services. Over 500 students have received ILF Fellowships or leadership training.
In their letter of invitation to Amata, Dr. Hsu and Mr. Chen explained that annually ILF "recognizes a small number of truly remarkable individuals and organizations to honor at our annual awards dinner." This year ILF also will recognize the public service contributions of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, California Congressman Mike Honda and the Committee of 100, a Chinese-American civic and advocacy organization.
In conclusion wrote the ILF leaders to Amata: "Thank you for being a role model for our youth to follow in your footsteps."
For more informational about the International Leadership Foundation, or to attend its Annual Gala on July 17th in Washington, D.C.
International Leadership Foundation
Aumua Amata Lauds Local Leaders for the military voting bill; commends CSM Savusa
Pago Pago. Aumua Amata today commended the Fono for passing and the Governor for signing the bill to allow our military sons and daughters whose home of record is American Samoa to register and vote absentee from off-island. "Our right to vote is one of our most precious rights," said Amata. She thanked them as well as Chief Election Officer Soliai for their efforts to make it easier, not harder, for every eligible person to register and to vote absentee if there are legitimate reasons to be off island at election time. Nothing could be more legitimate than service abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Aumua continued, "I compliment CSM Savusa for his persistence and energy in pushing out this issue. Last year he was kind enough to share with me his thoughts. I appreciate his courtesy in allowing me to add my perspective to the dialogue. In brief, last August I offered some suggestions to expedite passage and pointed out that I was concerned as much over how the matter was to be resolved as I was about the issue itself."
She emphasized, "To me, the issue of registration and absentee voting must be looked at in the larger context of self government. For Congress to have imposed from Washington this change in our system would have been a real setback in the evolution of our self government, in my view. Thankfully, our leaders acted and that drastic step was not necessary."
"I told CSM Savusa then that he had "my support on easing restrictions on registration and absentee voting for service personnel and I pledge to you that I will raise this issue personally both with current Fono members and candidates who will be seeking office next year. I can do no less to honor the memory of my father, who himself proudly served our country in the U.S. Army in World War II. God bless you for all that you do for all of us," Aumua Amata concluded.