By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Palikir, Pohnpei— Federated States of Micronesia Vice President Yosiwo Palikkun George passed away this morning after more than two weeks of bout with Covid-19, the FSM government announced "with great sadness." He was 81.
Born in Kosrae on July 24, 1941, Yosiwo Palikkun George began his education at Malem Elementary School. In 1957 he moved to Pohnpei to attend Pohnpei Intermediate School and then Pacific Island Central School, where he graduated in 1963. Yosiwo Palikkun George attended the College of Guam and then transferred to the University of Hawaii under a scholarship from the East-West Center.
While at the East-West Center, George participated in a student-exchange program at the University of New Mexico. George graduated with a bachelor of science in Mathematics in 1969. George’s career in public service began with the Pohnpei Transportation Authority, where he served as an engineer; he then later served as a classroom teacher at Kolonia Elementary School, and then as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands’ Social Security manager in Saipan. George served as the first lieutenant governor of Kosrae from 1979 to 1980, when he was appointed by President Tosiwo Nakayama to become the director of the Department of Social Services, focusing on education, health and community services. This focus would remain of continuous professional and personal interest to him throughout his life. After several years of dedicated service as the FSM’s director of Social Services, George felt duty-bound to serve the people of Kosrae, and so ran for governor of Kosrae. He served Kosrae as its governor for two terms, from Jan. 3, 1983 to Jan. 14, 1991. He was then appointed by President Bailey Olter to serve as the FSM's ambassador to the United Nations, where he served with distinction for three years. International service on behalf of the FSM inspired George to run for a seat in the 10th FSM Congress, where he served as a Senator for four years. He was later appointed by Governor Rensley Sigrah to serve as the chief justice for Kosrae State’s Supreme Court, where he served until 2006.
George was then called upon by President Emanuel “Manny” Mori to serve as the administrator for the MiCare health insurance program. After several years of service in this capacity, President Mori appointed George to become the FSM's ambassador to the United States, with additional accreditation to the State of Israel. George ran for the State of Kosrae’s at-large seat in the 19th Congress of the FSM, where he was then elected, and sworn into office on May 11, 2015, as the eighth vice president of the FSM, in partnership with President Peter M. Christian.
Upon completion of his first term as vice president of the FSM, George ran for the State of Kosrae’s at-large seat again in 2019, where the 21st Congress elected him again as vice president, and where he served with President David W. Panuelo until his passing. The FSM national government recognizes that George dedicated his life to the service of nation with unquestionable leadership and integrity. George was committed to a free and sovereign Micronesia and dedicated the whole of his life to building the nation’s prosperity. George exemplified, in his personal and professional life, the FSM’s foreign policy of being a friend to all and an enemy to none, and extending to all peoples and nations peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity.
CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres on Sunday issued the following statement on the passing of George.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Vice President Yosiwo P. George. We also extend our thoughts and prayers to the Kosraean and FSM community in the CNMI, as we join our Micronesian brothers and sisters in mourning during this difficult time.”
“Of the times that I had the opportunity to meet with Vice President George, including at the Micronesian Islands Forum, we were able to discuss matters of policy important to the people of Micronesia. He also welcomed me to Kosrae, his home island, during my first visit there, and for that, I am still thankful. We shared in commitment to serving our people, and his life of public service and leadership will not be forgotten."