Fijian High Commissioner Sparks Cultural Identity Nomination

Caption: Fiji High Commissioner  HE Mr. Ratu Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara & Mrs. Kerry Mara. Photo:SUPPLIED.

London, UK – May 15, 2014 –High Commissioner of Fiji HE Mr Solo Mara has been shortlisted out of 70 candidates this year for the 2nd Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award.

The award recognises UK-based politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. The High Commissioner is nominated for promoting the cultural identity of Fiji to over 30,000 Diaspora Fijans in the UK.

Fiji is a small island, northeast of New Zealand with a rough population of 850 million people. Considering the staggering distance between Fiji and the UK, the physical distance of 17,000 kilometres has kept many second and third generation Fijans feeling disconnected from their home island. Many of whom do not know much of their native language or culture.

When returning to Fiji on holidays, the High Commissioner noted that many of his British-Fijan constituents told him that they felt embarrassed to know so little of their culture and history and felt misplaced when visiting. This feeling of disconnectedness is an overarching problem for Pacific islanders on getting their voices seriously heard by the international community, even if their case on the mitigation of climate change is a strong one.

Mr Mara has a very strong sense of mission to promote Fiji’s cultural identity in the UK and has planned very successful exhibitions, cultural shows and seminars to cities across the UK since becoming High Commissioner in September 2011. His cultural shows had sparked great desire from young people to learn the language. Mr Mara planned a major exhibition in collaboration with the British Museum and a number of universities in the UK on Fijian culture and is currently plugging into Fiji’s history of rugby to develop outreach programmes ready for Rugby World Cup in 2014.

The High Commissioner has plenty of spark and energy to see his commitment through and his accessibility to his constituents make him an ideal grassroot diplomat.

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news – that is the grassroot diplomacy way”.

Join HE Solo Mara and other government nominees at The Mayfair Hotel, London on Thursday 15th May 2014 where the awards ceremony will be hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. For ticket information please visit: Advance ticket sale ends in April 2014.

For more information contact:

 Nina Maxwell Suite 16662, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PW Voice Message: +44 (0) 207 608 5532 Mobile: +44 (0) 7402 252 789

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