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Participant Biographies

Teewata Aromata

Chief Librarian and Archivist, Kiribati National Library (Kiribati)

Kam na bane ni mauri Hello to everyone

My name is Teewata Aromata and I have been working in different types of Libraries. I started my career as a Primary School Teacher, while teaching I underwent my library extension courses with University of the South Pacific. Then I started working as a School Librarian for 6 years. I then went to Australia at Swinburne University of Technology for further Library studies for 2 years.

Upon return in 2000, I started working as a Librarian at University of the South Pacific until 2017. January this year, I took up the position of a Chief Librarian and Archivist for the Kiribati within the Ministry of Education.

I acknowledge Leneve Jamieson and her team from ALIA Australia for such a wonderful program for Librarians in the Pacific and get together to share ideas and develop library services to assist each other to work together to achieve the SDG in Oceania.

Temauri Teraoi Tetabomoa Health Peace and Prosperity.

Christophe Augias

Director at Bibliothèque Bernheim New Caledonia Libraries (New Caledonia)

I am currently working as the director of the Bernheim Library, New Caledonia’s territorial library.

We collect and preserve the legal deposit in partnership with the French National Library. Bernheim is also the head of a computerized network of 20 libraries on the islands and maintains a centralized library management system shared freely with these libraries. We run three main libraries located in the capital city and on the northwest and northeast coasts, as well as two small libraries in small tribal villages.

I was trained at the ENSSIB (French National Superior School of Library and Information Sciences) in 2000-2001 and have a national diploma as a curator.

My free time is devoted to travelling, culture, hard rocking music and growing hot chili peppers. I do enjoy fishing, as you need something to cook the peppers with.

Clara Bohrer

Past President, Public Libraries Association, American Libraries Association (USA)

Clara N. Bohrer is a past-president of the Public Library Association (PLA) and currently serves as chair of PLA’s Budget and Finance Committee.  She has been involved with PLA’s Every Child Ready to Read since its inception, an initiative which changed practice in U.S. public libraries around early literacy services.  She also currently serves as Chair of PLA’s Task Force on Family Engagement.

Clara is the Director of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library in Michigan (USA). 

The WBTPL was awarded the 2010 National Medal by the Institute for Museum and Library Services recognizing its efforts around community engagement, workforce development, and early literacy services. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for libraries.

During her term as PLA president, she was invited to the first official meeting between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and representatives of the Public Library Association to discuss advocacy.  That meeting and through the support of the Gates Foundation led to Turning the Page, a successful advocacy tool which has been used by public libraries across the United States and various parts of the world.

Alison Burchell

Permanent Secretary of Education (Fiji)

Alison is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts having served in a similar capacity in the Ministry of Youth and Sports until recently. Former roles have included working in a private IT company, with an international sports federation, in the public service in South Africa, with the disability sport, several bidding and organising committees for international events.

The summit will be an introduction to the untapped reservoir of libraries particularly in the area of the opportunities digital libraries provide.

Mark Crookston

Associate Chief Librarian, Research Collections, National Library of New Zealand (New Zealand)

Mark Crookston is Associate Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, in the National Library of New Zealand. He’s an archivist by background, who has worked in a range of digital library and archival roles across New Zealand, the U.K., and the Pacific. From 2007-2011 he was the Secretary General for the Pacific Branch of the International Council on Archives (PARBICA) and was instrumental in developing capacity building tools and delivering training to support Pacific archival institutions.

Mark is interested in challenging the existing library and archival models and ways of working, in points of integration across the memory sector, and better promoting the services of libraries and archives. Mark has a Masters Degree in Library and Information Studies from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and has presented and published many papers on the use and preservation of digital information in New Zealand.

Dr. Tapa’au Dan Aga

Chairman of the Public Library Board (American Samoa)

Dr. Tapa’au Dan Aga - Chairman of the Public Library Board (American Samoa)

Dan Aga has been the Board Chairman of American Samoa’s Feleti Barstow Public Library for nearly five years.  He enjoys reading there while sitting among other visitors to the library -- young and old.

For the last two years, he served as the Executive Director of the American Samoa Office of Political Status, Constitutional Review, and Federal Relations.  For 12 years prior, he was Director of the American Samoa Community College’s “land grant" program.  Land Grant conducts research,and provides outreach and academic instruction in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences.

Dan is the Director and Writer of the 2009 “A HISTORY OF AMERICAN SAMOA” – a 2-hour documentary covering 130 years of American Samoa’s history. 

He has been an Adjunct Lecturer for the University of Hawaii, Golden Gate University, and Argosy University.  He was an Assistant Professor for the University of Hawaii Medical School 2005-2008.

Elizabeth Edwards

Chairperson, Blue Shield Pasifika (Fiji)

Elizabeth Edwards is by profession a Film Producer & Editor having worked in the television and media industry with Fiji TV, Mai TV and Pasifika Communications – in the private sector and advocating for social issues in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s).


She is Secretary General for Blue Shield Pasifika and ICOMOS Pasifika since 2016 representing the Pacific and communicating across the Pacific Region on Heritage and its Protection for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) to professionals and organizations in the Pacific. She is also a Researcher for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for the International Research Centre Institute (IRCI).


Fundraising, Communicating, Informing, Creating Awareness through

Networks/Mediums and updating social media platforms – Facebook to support planned activities for Blue Shield Pasifika and partners currently housed under the Fiji Museum and supported under the Department Heritage & Arts, Fiji, UNESCO and partners.

Elenoa Fonmanu

Student, Dip Info Studies at University of the South Pacific and student rep to LIS IPAC (Fiji)

Elenoa Fonmanu - Student, Dip Info Studies at University of the South Pacific and student rep to LIS IPAC (Fiji)

Bula!! My name is Elenoa Fonmanu, and is 37 years old.  I am Rotuman / Kadavu, and have lived most of my life here in Suva. 

Last year I completed the certificate level for Library/ Information Studies under Pacific TAFE at the University of the South Pacific, and I am currently pursuing the Diploma in Library/ Information Study.  After my final exams last year, I managed to get a three months attachment position at the Forum Secretariat library, which was the opening of working and putting into practice all that I had just learnt.  Before the three months had ended, I was very fortunate to land another job; I am at this time working as an Admin/ Library Assistant with the Salvation Army School for Officer Training.  I am the student rep to IPAC.

I enjoy reading, cooking and spending time with family. 

Susan Gandi

President, Papua New Guinea Library Association (Papua New Guinea)

I am Susan Gandi, from Papua New Guinea. I work at the University of Papua New Guinea’s Michael Somare Library as the Reader Services Librarian.  I am also, the President of Papua New Guinea Library and Information Association (PNGLIA).

My past experience includes, being a part of the senior Library management team and an academic librarian with the University of Technology’s Matheson Library for 14 years and later, as the Head of Library and Communications Unit of the Papua New Guinea Medical Research Institute for 9 years.

My professional membership includes PNGLIA and American Medical Library Association. In 2009, I attended the International Medical Library Association Congress in Brisbane Australia. I presented a paper titled Medical Library and Information Services in Papua New Guinea: an overview. 

During my own time, I advocate for equitable access to improved library and information services and women’s health issues. 

My qualifications include, Diploma in Library and Information Science (UPNG) and Bachelor of Education from the University of New England,  NSW, Australia. I am also a World Health Organisation (WHO) certified trainer in Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiatives (HINARI) in the Western Pacific Region.

Amerika Grewal

President, Rotary Suva East (Fiji)

Amerika Grewal is a creative educator and mentor with Interactive Transitions, a consulting firm in Suva, Fiji. In addition to her role as the Vice-Chair of the FCEF Women Entrepreneurs & Business Council, Amerika is the 2017-2018 President of the Rotary Club of Suva East.

Originally from Texas, Amerika has been an employee of, patron of, and donor to libraries around the world. She even found her now-husband of 23 years in a library (It pays to be curious, he worked in Reference.) Their son has continued the family tradition of supporting books and literacy with his own capstone project collecting young adult literature and donating the resulting hundreds of books to a TC Winston-damaged school near Rakiraki. Amerika is excited to attend the Pacific Libraries Summit and share her experiences as well as her passion for libraries and the opportunities they convey.

Atarino Helieisar

Past President, PIALA (Federated States of Micronesia)

Mr. Atarino A. Helieisar currently serves as the Chief Law Librarian & Publication Manager for the FSM Supreme Court since 2007. Mr. Helieisar has advanced the court’s library and legal research capabilities by establishing a website with a catalog of materials that will assist lawyers and others who utilize it. On five separate occasions, Mr. Helieisar served as the chairperson of the FSM National Law Day Committee with members representing the three branches (Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary) in planning, coordinating and executing plans, programs and activities for this annual event for the nation.

Prior to working with the highest court in the nation, Mr. Helieisar worked at the College of Micronesia-FSM National Campus Learning Resources Center for seven (7) years as the coordinator for the special collections including (the U.S. Government Documents and the United Nations Depository) where he earned students’ vote of confidence for the Student Choice Award for two years in a row for 2000 and 2001. The awards were given to recognize his full support, assistance, and encouragement to students during each school year.

Mr. Helieisar is an active member of the Pacific Islands Association of Libraries, Archives, and Museums (PIALA).

Deborah Jacobs

Director, Global Libraries, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, oversees the foundation’s work to improve the lives of 1 billion “information-poor” people by 2030 while positioning the world’s 320,000 public libraries as critical community assets and providers of information through relevant technologies.

Prior to joining the foundation in 2008, she served as Seattle City Librarian for 11 years. In addition to directing the Seattle Public Library system, Jacobs led a $291 million capital-improvement program called “Libraries for All” that funded the construction of a new Central Library and renovated, built, or expanded 26 branch libraries. Over her tenure as Seattle City Librarian, the library moved forward in many areas including her priority areas of strengthening services to immigrants and refugees, early childhood learning, teen services and the virtual library.


Jacobs began her career as a children’s librarian forty years ago, and has received a number of honors throughout her career. Among other recognitions, Jacobs has been named by Seattle Magazine as one of Seattle's 25 Most Influential People as well as being recognized by the University of Washington as one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century in the state of Washington.  Jacobs was also included as one of Governing Magazine's Public Officials of the Year in 2001, the first librarian ever to receive this honor.

Alex Jebson

Second Secretary, New Zealand High Commission, Suva (Fiji)

Pauline Kalo

President - Vanuatu Library Association (Vanuatu)

My name is Pauline Kalo. I am employed by the Judiciary of the Republic of Vanuatu where I am responsible for the management of the Court Library and Archives. I have worked for more than 10 years in this job.

Previously I worked at the University of the South Pacific Emalus Campus Library for 6 years as a Library attendant then as an assistant.

I am a member of the Vanuatu Library Association. I Currently hold the position of secretary to the Association.

When not working, I juggle my time between raising four fantastic children and studying. My other interests include gardening and cooking.

Kakaito Kasi

Director General, National Library and Archives of Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea)

I am Kakaito Kasi, the Director General of Library and Archives in Papua New Guinea. I am based in Port Moresby and I have worked in the Library and Archives field as DG for 3 years. I have Masters in Strategic Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management and Bachelor in Public Policy Management at the University of PNG.

Soon PNG will have the state of the art Library infrastructure (10 story building) and all 22 provinces will have public libraries, 89 districts will have district libraries and 11,000 school will have school libraries. This plan also covers the National Archives. I am fascinated about the changes.

I believe each of us can bring a lot of changes to our societies and our neighbors.

My personal hobby is cooking for my family.

Liz Keirs

Pacific Engagement Section, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Liz Keirs works for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in the Pacific Engagement Section. Until recently, Liz ran DFAT’s public diplomacy training program, which looks at different ways of advocating Australia’s interests overseas with non-government stakeholders.

Prior to DFAT Liz worked for many years in the museum industry, including seven years at the Australian War Memorial, with a secondment for a year as Touring Exhibitions Manager at the National Archives of Australia. Before this she was in Melbourne working for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Liz is passionate about the importance of people connecting with their cultural heritage and its key role in providing a grounded sense of personal as well as national identity

Augustine Kohler (Gus)

Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO of the Federated States of Micronesia (the Federated States of Micronesia)

I am currently the National Historic Preservation Officer for the FSM National Government and also serve as the Secretary-General for the FSM National Commission for UNESCO.   I have a BA in Anthropology/Pacific Studies from Auckland University, New Zealand.

My office, the FSM Office of National Archives, Culture and Historic Preservation (NACH) is the focal point for IMLS and we work closely with all the Public Libraries in the Federated States of Micronesia.

I love the ocean and I try to fish whenever I can.  My wife and I also love to travel but it is difficult at times to leave our two dogs back home.

Elvira Lapuz

Deputy University Librarian, University of the Philippines (Philippines)

Elvira Lapuz is the current Deputy University Librarian of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, and former National President of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI). A Member of the Executive Board of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL). She also sits in Professional Regulations Commission- Continuing Professional Development Council  (PRC-CPDC).

Elvira earned her Bachelor of Library Science (BLS) in 1991 and her Master of Library Science (MLS) in 2003 from the UP School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) where she is also appointed as part-time Senior Lecturer handling courses in Management of Library and Information Center, Collection Development and Management and Records Management. In 2016, she was selected as an Associate of the International

Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) International Leaders Program2 (ILP2). IFLA ILP2 is a two-year Program designed to increase the cohort of leaders who can effectively represent the wider library sector in the international arena, and to develop leaders within IFLA. As part of her continuing engagement in the ILP2, she has advocated for libraries and their role in the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Losa Latulipe

Senior Library Assistant, Nelson Memorial Public Library, Samoa (Samoa)

Mr Neaki Letia

Director of Education Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport (Tuvalu)

My name is Mr. Neaki Letia, Director of Education in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports in Tuvalu. I was a teacher by profession, having taught in Tuvalu’s only Government Secondary School for more than 10 years before moving to the Education Department.

Over the years we have been trying to improve library services in all Tuvalu schools in order to enhance the teaching and learning. This initiative will be supported by the Tuvalu Library and Archives and we are also relying on the expertise and technical support from our regional friends.

In my spare time, I enjoyed fishing and playing volley ball.

Fakafetai lasi

Jullian Fenny Lilo

Director, Community Education & School Services (Solomon Islands)

Jullian Fenny Lilo, from Solomon Islands, holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts (Education) from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

She obtained her Bachelor of Education Teaching (Primary) at Dunedin College of Education, and her Certificate in Teaching at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE).

She worked as a primary school teacher, and a primary school principal in Solomon Islands for ten years, before holding various positions at the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education including the current position as a Director for Community Education and School Services Department. Her roles and responsibilities are to ensure ECE, Primary, Secondary and Vocational programs and policies implementing in schools and communities.

Vicki McDonald

CEO and State Librarian, State Library of Queensland (Australia)

Vicki McDonald is a key player in the transformation of the library sector in Queensland.

As State Librarian and CEO of State Library of Queensland she understands the need for a strong, relevant and innovative library service.

Her national and international experience led to her appointment as State Librarian and CEO of State Library of Queensland in 2016 following a career of passionate library advocacy that began with her first job as a library assistant at the Dalby-Wambo Public Library.

Her appointment at SLQ renews a long association that started in 2001 when Ms McDonald was seconded from Brisbane City Council. As an Executive Director at State Library, Ms McDonald was involved in policy, client services and collections before taking up a position as Associate Director Library Services (Client Services and Learning Support) at Queensland University of Technology.

Prior to her appointment as State Librarian and CEO, Ms McDonald was Executive Director Library and Information Services at the State Library of New South Wales, managing the library’s $3billion worth of collections.

Vicki MacDonald is also currently president of Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA) 2017-2018.

Frank Makanuey

Chairman, National Library and Archives Board (Papua New Guinea)

My full name is Frank Alfonsius Makanuey.

I serve as the Chairman of the PNG National Library and Archives Board. I have served in this position for the last three years.

I am an Auditor by profession.  I have previously worked as the Chief Internal Auditor for Port Moresby City Council or otherwise known as NCDC (National Capital District Commission).  I have also served the NCDC as the Deputy City Manager for Finance and Administration and also as the Deputy City Manager Community and Social Services. In total I work for the NCDC for a total 12 years beginning in 1997.

In 2009 I left the NCDC and worked for a Provincial Government called the Central Provincial Government as its Chief Internal Auditor.

In 2013, I resigned and ventured into business. I started my own Audit and Project Management Consultancy called the Woodstone Siblings and Associates. I was contracted by the National Education Department and did some audit for the TTF Policy. The TFF is PNG Government Tuition Fee Free Education. I was engaged to visit the Schools to check their books.

Justin Maga

Territorial Librarian, Feleti Barstow Public Library (American Samoa)

I am currently serving American Samoa as the Territorial Librarian.

I had been serving in the 'Acting' capacity since June 2014 until my official appointment in July 2017. Prior to this, I was the Head Cataloger at the Feleti Barstow Public Library where I transitioned from being a Library Assistant working the Reference Desk.

I received my MLIS from the University of North Texas in December 2013 through the Laura Bush 21rst Century LEAP (Library Education for the Affiliated Pacific) Scholarship Program.

Before beginning my career in librarianship, I taught at the elementary level for 5 years and secondary for a year. I received my BEd from the University of Hawaii Teacher Education Cohort Program while teaching for the American Samoa Department of Education.

I enjoy doing radio broadcasts for Southseas Broadcasting covering local high school football in my spare time.  I have been afforded amazing personal and professional opportunities while representing American Samoa as the Territorial Librarian. I am excited to be in position to navigate the future of librarianship for American Samoa and reciprocate opportunities afforded me while making my mark in the world of librarianship.

Participating in the Pacific Libraries Summit may have monumental implications! Another opportunity I am grateful for!

Samuela Nakalevu

Senior Information Management Assistant, Pacific Community (SPC) (Fiji)

Samuela Nakalevu has spent 30 years working in the library field. He has worked in Libraries at USP, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and currently with the Pacific Community (SPC). He has a Diploma, Library/Information Science from the University of the South Pacific (USP), a BA, Management and Applied Psychology from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and a Post Grad Cert Disaster Risk Management from Fiji National University (FNU).

Samuela’s current role at SPC includes Liaison Librarian for SPC’s Land Resources Division (Based in Suva), Focal Point Librarian for the SPC Suva Library and supports in the provision of all library services provided by the SPC Library Suva.

Ms Nisha

Regional Representative, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States (Samoa)

Ms. Nisha brings around 30 years of experiences to her current role as the Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States. Of her experiences, around 24 years have been focused on multi-sector development and humanitarian emergency response, including child and women’s rights, gender equality, education and training, labour and human rights, peace building, disaster risk reduction, emergency response and recovery, governance reform, and development initiatives focused on local and national capacity building.

Prior to working with the UNESCO, Ms. Nisha worked with civil society organizations in India, and internationally with the Oxfam GB, Christian Aid, UNDP, UNIFEM and the ILO. In the current role,

Ms. Nisha performs the function of UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States and leads and coordinates UNESCO’s programmatic work covering education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and intangible heritage, and information and communication in the Pacific.

Ela Qica

President, Fiji Library Association Fiji (Fiji)

Roland San Nicolas

Head Librarian of Reference Services and Information Literacy, Instruction Librarian, University of Guam (Guam)

Roland San Nicolas is a native Chamoru who was born and raised on Guam.

He completed his undergraduate degree in Allied Health Science at the University of Portland, Oregon, in 1995. In 2013 he graduated from the University of North Texas with an MLS as part of the first cohort of the LEAP Program.

Roland served as a Science and Math Teacher on Guam for 15 years and as a Vice Principal of a Catholic High School for 6 years. Roland has been a librarian since 2015 and is currently the Vice President of the Pacific Islands Association of Libraries, Archives, and Museums and the Secretary of the Guam Library Association.

Alfred Schuster


Alfred was recently the Development Cooperation Adviser at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva Fiji; and co-led the Secretariat’s efforts in the implementation and advocacy on the Forum Compact for Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific, which included tracking Pacific countries progress against the MDG’s and monitoring the effectiveness of the contribution of development partners to supporting Pacific island countries development.


Prior to joining the Secretariat, he was the Assistant Representative at the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office in Suva. He has held senior management and policy positions in New Zealand as the Director Centre Pacific Development at UNITEC Institute of Technology, and Senior Adviser in the Office of Pacific Advancement at the Auckland University of Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the South Pacific and a Master of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies from the University of Auckland.

Maureen Peter Shariff

Chief Librarian, Suva City Council (Fiji)

Ms Shariff is the Chief Librarian of the Suva City. She has forty years public library experience and has been the Chief Librarian since 2000.

During her career, Maureen was instrumental in renovating the Children’s Library Section, organising the Library Centennial celebrations, introducing Internet Services and securing a grant for a new Library Mobile vehicle.  One of her biggest highlights was the establishment of the Friends of the Suva City Library Group in the early 1980s which saw substantial donations of books and funds for the Library over the years. She recently worked alongside with the organizing committee for the COP 23 that launched Fiji’s Climate Change Story in Virtual Reality. The honorable Prime Minister Mr. Frank Bainimarama was the Chief Guest and the screening was held between 3 -14 April 2018.  The Suva City Carnegie Library is taking active measures to work with government agencies and embassies. Example: iTaukei storytelling hosted by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs & STEM events supported by the US Embassy. Maureen is also working in close contact with Merewalesi the Director Library Services to form a Fiji Public Libraries consortium.

Ms Shariff is excited at the opportunities of meeting other Pacific Island participants during the Pacific Libraries Summit and anticipating an enriching experience during the deliberations on the Future of Libraries and the Sustainable Goals 2030.

Maureen has been a sponsor for Nina Nakaora in Cohort 2 of INELi.

Sanjana Shrestha

Country Director, READ Nepal (Australia and Nepal)

Sanjana has been with READ Nepal for fourteen years and has served as Nepal Country Director from January 2009 – Feb 2018. She is currently holding a position as Senior Program Specialist of READ Global and overseeing program in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Cote d’Ivoire.

Prior to READ, Sanjana was a Project Coordinator and Researcher with the Manushi for Sustainable Development organization in Nepal. Sanjana was also involved in project evaluation work in various organizations such as Save the Children US, Winrock International and German Technical Cooperation.

Sanjana’s expertise and facilitation skills have been critical in expanding the READ model to India and Bhutan. She serves as the READ Global representative for Beyond Access, a joint initiative of organizations working to raise awareness of the powerful role that libraries can serve as hubs for economic and social change. Sanjana received a Nomura Centre CONFINTEA scholarship from the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL) and have an article based on empirical research showing the impact of sustainable community libraries.

Sanjana was also appointed an advisory board member of Association of International Non- Government Organizations in Nepal (AIN) and has served as an International Advisory Board Member for the Access to Learning Award of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in humanities and Social Science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu and is currently pursuing a PhD at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Pacco Siri

Acting Director General, Organisational Performance Unit, Ministry of Justice and Community Services (Vanuatu)

Perenise Stowers

Acting CEO, School Operations (Samoa)

Talofa lava. I am Perenise Stowers and I am currently working as an Assistant Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) of School Operations at the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, a position I have held for 1 year and 5 months.

Previous positions include being a teacher and School Principal for an all-Girls College for close to 10 years; and working as a Development Program Coordinator – Education for the New Zealand High Commission in Samoa.  My experiences from these positions gave me a passion for Life Long Learning and Community Development and Partnerships.

In my capacity as the ACEO School Operations, I oversee 167 government schools (144 Primary and 23 Colleges). On a daily basis I deal mainly with key stakeholders in education – parents, school committees, other government ministries. Part of my Divisions core function is monitoring the Minimum Service Standards for all Government schools which stipulates that all schools must have functional libraries. 

I have a Bachelor of Teaching in Professional Education and BA in English Literature (Waikato University, NZ) 2002 and a Masters of Education – Leadership (Victoria University, Footscray Australia) 2013.

I work only 20 minutes away from work. Outside work, I love to catch up with my friends and colleagues and spent time with my two beautiful nieces between the ages of 2 and 7 months. I love listening to country music and reading especially a good mystery novel.

Laurel Sutton

Independent Consultant, Complexability

Laurel is an independent consultant belonging to the network of consultants comprising Complexability and is Principal of her own consultancy Creative Cognicion. She focuses on the areas of narrative research, continuous improvement, leadership development and organizational and personal change. She has a background in mental health as an Occupational Therapist, and over 25 years senior management experience in health services and with Victoria Police in leadership development and cultural change.

Laurel is an accredited and experienced Cognitive Edge practitioner and uses these tools and processes to help people understand complex situations, develop insights and innovative actions.

Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Chairwoman of Board at Alola Foundation, former First Lady, Ti mor Leste (Timor Leste)

Kirsty Sword Gusmão, Former First Lady of Timor-Leste and Founder of Alola Foundation was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1966. She grew up in Melbourne and Bendigo and attended Melbourne University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), majoring in Indonesian and Italian, and a Diploma of Education.


In 1991, after working as an Administrative Secretary with the Overseas Service Bureau (Australian Volunteers International), she joined the Refugee Studies Program at Oxford University as Assistant to the Development Coordinator. During 1991, she travelled to East Timor as the Researcher/Interpreter the Yorkshire Television documentary film (In Cold Blood: The massacre of East Timor) on political and social developments in the territory.


From 1992 to 1996, she lived and worked as a teacher and human rights campaigner in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was during these years that her work for the East Timorese independence cause intensified and brought her into contact with the independence leader, Xanana Gusmão, who was serving a 20-year sentence in a Jakarta jail and whom she married in July 2000.


She has lived in East Timor since October 1999 and is the founder and chairwoman of the Alola Foundation which she established in 2001 to address the needs of East Timorese women and their families through advocacy, schooling, health support and economic opportunities.


Kirsty was appointed by the President Dr. Jose Ramos Horta as Goodwill Ambassador for Education in October 2007. This appointment was in recognition of Kirsty's tireless efforts to date and to formalize future endeavours in addressing the educational priorities of Timor-Leste.


On 14 May 2014, Sword Gusmão was admitted to the degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) by Victoria University for her community service in championing the importance of education and improving the lives of women and children in Timor-Leste


In June 2015, Sword Gusmão was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "For distinguished service to Australia-Timor-Leste relations through the development of mutual cooperation and understanding, particularly in the education sector, and as an advocate for improved health and living conditions for the Timorese people.

Kirsty has three sons, Alexandre, Kay Olok and Daniel.

Liviana Tabalala

Course Coordinator Library / Information, University of the South Pacific (Fiji)

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Mrs. Liviana Tabalala is the Head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Pacific TAFE, the University of the South Pacific, Laucala main campus in Suva, Fiji.  Prior to this she was a Librarian and Coordinator of the Library/Information Studies Programme at the USP.

Liviana is also the Vice President of the Fiji Library Association and is part of an FLA Council that organizes workshops for the profession so as submissions to policymakers for the recognition and upgrade of library services and personnel. She is also a member of the Australian Library Information Association (ALIA).

She represented the FLA during the IFLA Global Vision Regional Workshop: Asia and Oceania Workshop held from 28-29 June 2017 in Singapore and ran a host evening workshop on 31st August 2017 where she facilitated a discussion on the IGVP with materials prepared at the Singapore workshop. Liviana looks forward to meeting other participants during the Pacific Libraries Summit to deliberate more on Libraries and the Sustainable Goals 2030.

Mamao Tafao

Assistant Librarian – Tuvalu National Library and Archives (Tuvalu)

Talofa My name is Mamao Tafao and I am 23 years of age. I am currently working as an Assistant Librarian at the Tuvalu National Library and Archives for two years. It has been a great and wonderful experience working with staffs and promoting library services and information fulfilling our vision for our community.

Our main goal is to ensure that our national cultural and documentary heritage is protected and well preserved and to share improved and quality information services to our stakeholders.

I have completed the Certificate in Library and Information Studies in 2015 and is doing the Diploma in Library and Information Service at the University of the South Pacific in Funafuti.

Kuiniselani Tago-Elisara

Director, Social Development Programme (Gender, Culture and Youth), Pacific Community (SPC) (Fiji)

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Margaret Talasasa

Manager, Solomon Islands National Library Services (Solomon Islands)

My name is Margaret Talasasa. I am currently holding the position of Manager of Solomon Islands National Library Services. I joined the Solomon Islands National Library, as Library Assistant in 1983, then slowly made my way up to this current position. I have held the position as Manager for 11 years and I am looking forward to my retirement two years’ time.

I obtained a Diploma in Library and Information Studies from the (University of Papua New Guinea) 1990.

I travel to and from work each day either by car or by bus. Outside of work, I love playing netball and cooking. I represented Solomon Islands as a netball player at the Mini Games in Norfolk Island in 2001, the Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji in 2003 and 2007.

I have three children and four grandchildren.

Mrs Ruuta Tekeraoi

Director of Education (Kiribati)

Mauri! I am the director of education from Kiribati. I held the position since July 2017. I started my career in 2000 as a high school teacher teaching general science and chemistry.  I also held positions of a deputy principal and principal during my time at the school. I joined the Ministry of Education in 2014 as one of the senior education officers looking after the senior secondary schools and scholarship division.

I earned both my first degree and Master of Education from the University of the South Pacific. My master thesis is on culturally appropriate leadership in Kiribati schools.

What has been most rewarding in my career as a teacher was the impact that I could make on my students’ achievements and behavior. It was the reward that touch my heart and made me so proud. Now as I am embarking on this greater challenge of being responsible for improving schools’ systems across Kiribati, what will be rewarding to me now is the impact that I can make on teachers’ performance. I see my big role in ensuring that great support is provided and available to teachers. Library service is one important support to teachers teaching and in improving literacy in Kiribati. I am therefore sincerely appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this summit as I have high hope that it will give me better understanding on how library services can benefit the schools. 

Pasquana Tirso

Librarian – Palau National Congress the OEK Library (Palau)

I am currently working as a Librarian at the Palau National Congress, the OEK Library.  The Olbiil Era Kelulau for Palauan translation.  I have attended the annual Conferences at Pacific Island Association of Libraries, Archives and Museums (PIALA) for the past six years.   On these conferences I met so many professionals who have helped me learned and improved in my career.  I became a joint staff for both houses and I have held the librarian position since December of 2012 until now. 

I previously worked for the Palau National Congress since May 2001 as committee assistant at the House of Delegates.  During the tenure of job at the House of Delegates, I enrolled as part-time student at the local community college, Palau Community College, to further my knowledge in computer literacy.

I received a certificate of achievement in the Office Administration.  With the generosity and the approval of both house presiding officers, they allowed me to work while taking courses at the college.  In the summer of 2012, I graduated with an AAS degree in Library Information and Services.  Several months later I became the Librarian.  In 2016, I enrolled again for two semesters and I obtain my AS degree in LS program.

The Palau National Congress is located on the big island of Babeldaob within the building of the National Capitol situated in Melekeok State.  Due the distance I travelled about 45 minutes to and from work.  I live in city of Koror, west of the island nearby the Palau Pacific Resort.  Outside of work, I enjoy family time and an active church goer.  I am married with 5 beautiful children.  Family times are usually celebrations of birthdays and holidays that spend overnight at rock islands to enjoy the sandy beaches and swimming in the open water.  I also share my time with my fellow librarians during weekend fundraising or other library activities. 

Togi Tunupopo

President, Library Association of Samoa (Samoa)

Togi Tunupopo is primarily an educator, library and information specialist and project coordinator with about 20 years of University work experience, eighteen years in Samoa and two years at Victoria University of Wellington.

Mr. Tunupopo’s education is extensive and includes an advanced degree (MLIS) in Library and Information Sciences and a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research.  He has been recognized by his peers by being appointed to the OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council on Libraries for a few years.

Mr. Tunupopo’s abilities also has been recognized by the National University of Samoa since he was appointed Head or University Librarian in 1998 and continues in this position. In this capacity, he has been involved in all aspects of academic librarianship and management. This includes the transition from print to electronic resources which significantly expands the amount of material available to the University’s constituents.

Regarding the December 2013 HINARI Training workshop co-coordinated by Avalogo Togi Tunupopo and Leonard Rhine, Ph.D. Coordinator, E-library Training Initiative, Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association.

In 2016, Avalogo initiated the subscription for the EBSCO Host Academic databases to be made available at NUS Libraries. There have been many other achievements of which Togi has been involved in and no doubt represented Samoa in many regional and international conferences before.

Asaeli Tokalau

Director Administration & Operations, Suva City Council (Fiji)








Anthony Turua

Secretary of Cultural Development (Cook Islands)

My Name is Mr Anthony Turua and currently the Secretary of the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development. I have been in the current Secretary position for two and half years managing 23 staff.

The Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development manages the National Library, National Museum, National Archive and the National Cultural Events.

Prior employment has been 18 years with the Ministry of Finance as Financial Accountant, 13 years with the Ministry of Education as the Director for Finance and Infrastructure.

Currently Anthony holds a Diploma in Public Sector Management, Diploma in Accounting and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from USP, Fiji. Also, a Board member on the Cook Islands Superannuation Fund, Cook Islands Workers Association and the Cook Islands Sports and Olympic Association

Enjoy working in the cultural industry and great passion in the area of our cook island cultural history and the improvements of the National Library to provide better access for the Cook Islands community.

Enjoy sports such as rugby, lawn bowls, golf and occasionally touch rugby. A strong cultural performer and plays the guitar, ukulele and the cook island’s drums in the Korero Maori Performing Arts Group.

Rosi Uluiviti-Internationational

Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) Coordinator/ Curriculum Coordinator Middle School International School Suva (Fiji)

I am first and foremost an educator at heart.

My work at International School Suva involves curriculum development, teacher training and working alongside staff and students in the classroom. I am a workshop leader for the IBPYP in the Asia Pacific Region which involves delivering professional development workshops for teachers and administrators.

As the former library coordinator at our school I was privileged to work alongside our Librarian and be part of the first INELI convening. A highlight for me on my return was the opportunity to revisit the concept and function of libraries and reflect on the role of the library in our curriculum during a pivotal point in the development of ISS.

Today the library and our Librarian play an integral part in teaching and learning at our school in order to enhance learning across all curriculum areas and develop information literacy.

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Odile Urirau

Director General, National Library of the Cook Islands (Cook Islands)

Kia orana.  My name is Odile Urirau and I am currently the Acting National Library Manager for the Cook Islands National Library – Te Runanga Puka, here in Rarotonga.  It is a division under the Ministry of Cultural Development – Tauranga Vananga.

I started my career at the Runanga Puka in 2001 as a Librarian until 2015, where I took over the role of Acting Library Manager until now.  Since I started at the National Library, there has always been two staff, limited resources and not enough funding to help build the national collection. 

In 2012, I was invited by the National Library of Australia to attend the CDNL-AO meeting held in Canberra.  This was the first time ever our National Library was invited to such meetings.  I attended another one in Wellington, New Zealand.  Assistance with travel to attend these meetings were funded by the National Library of New Zealand.  Our National library is now recognised by those of Oceania and Asia with the possibility of more international collaboration and assistance.

I have been working in the Ministry of Cultural Development for 24 years and 4 years at the New Zealand High Commission office.  I loved my four years at the NZ High Commission learning about the importance of valuable documents such as passports, birth certificates etc…My passion for my Cook Islands culture made me come back into the Ministry in 2001.  Working in the National Library helped me to understand how important it is to value my culture, my identity and my heritage through the publications and information we collect and preserve.  Without these, the future generations will lose everything and will have no way of knowing who they were and who they are.

Talaite Visa

Librarian, Nausori Library (Fiji)

Talaite is currently a Librarian at the Nausori Public Library in Fiji.

Talaite holds a certificate in Library & Information Studies USP 2014. She is currently studying a Diploma in Library & Information Studies.

She lives in Province of Tailevu with her two daughters and one son. Her hobbies are reading, cooking and spending time with her children.

Michael Williams

Librarian, College of Micronesia – FSM Kosrae Campus (Federated States of Micronesia)

I am currently working for the College of Micronesia-FSM Learning Resources Center on its satellite campus in Kosrae.  I have been in charge of the Kosrae Campus LRC since August of 2012.  Prior to that I was working at the Rose Mackwelung Library (the only Public Library in Kosrae) from March 2007 till my transfer in 2012.

I currently serve as the Pacific Islands Association of Libraries, Archives, and Museums (PIALA) Secretary as of November 2017, and have also served as PIALA VP for a term.

I am currently working on completing my BS in Information & Library Services (University of Maine at Augusta) and am anticipating completing my online degree program by spring 2019.

Some of the things I like to do whenever I can find time (rarely these days) is spear fishing, a little gardening, and amateur cabinet making as I find these activities to be very therapeutic.

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