Washington– U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech will be in the Western Pacific for meetings in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from Dec. 2 to 9. U.S. Department of the Navy Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Environment, Karnig Ohannessian, will be traveling with Domenech.
“I look forward to the various meetings that we will have on Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Rota,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “In addition to meeting with the Governors and Mayors, the Office of Insular Affairs will host a World Heritage Opportunities for the Pacific Workshop, and we will visit several cultural and historic sites, Department of Defense sites, and Office of Insular Affairs’ funded projects. I will conclude my trip by participating in the Department of Defense Operation Christmas Drop out of Andersen Air Force Base.”
Assistant Secretary Domenech makes his first stop on Guam where he will meet with Guam Gov. Lourdes “Lou” Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio. Domenech and Ohannessian will have meetings at: Andersen Air Force Base, the Ritidian National Wildlife Refuge, Naval Base Guam, and Joint Region Marianas Military Command. Domenech and Ohannessian will also join Governor Leon Guerrero in providing welcome remarks at the World Heritage Opportunities for the Pacific Workshop, a workshop hosted by the Department of the Interior to increase awareness and build support for opportunities related to the World Heritage Convention and the protection of cultural, natural, and historic resources in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
Domenech and Ohannessian will then travel to Saipan and Tinian where they will meet with CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, as well as Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan Edwin Aldan and go on a Department of Defense-focused tour of Tinian. Domenech alone will proceed to Rota to meet with Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig. Together they will visit Songsong Village, Alaguan Bay Ancient Village, the Chugai Pictograph Cave, Japanese WWII sites, and the Mochong Latte Stone Village. They will also visit various Office of Insular Affairs’ funded projects under the Capital Improvement and Technical Assistance Programs. Domenech’s final stop on Rota will be to visit the Taga Latte Stone Quarry.
Before departing the region, Domenech will participate in the 68th annual Operation Christmas Drop which operates out of Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian mission where toys, food, and tools that are collected and donated by various communities on Guam are delivered to more than 50 smaller, remote islands throughout the Western Pacific, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. The air-lift event in which Domenech is participating will conduct an air drop over Lukunor Atoll in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia.