The National Nuclear Commission again has three members, following the recent appointment of Dr. Holly Barker as a commissioner with the RMI agency.
Barker was sworn in during a ceremony at the Cabinet office in Majuro last month.
She has a long-association with the Marshall Islands that started when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer on Nallo, Mili from 1988-1990. From that beginning, Barker went on to be executive assistant to the RMI ambassador to the US in Washington, DC from 1990-2005. While working at the embassy, she attended night classes at the American University in Washington to gain her master’s degree in International Education, followed by a Ph.D. in Anthropology. Barker’s Ph.D. fieldwork was based on interviews that the late senators/ambassadors Tony deBrum and Wilfred Kendall requested she collect so the RMI government would begin to have its own data on the impacts of US nuclear weapons testing.
Since leaving the RMI Embassy in Washington, she has worked at the University of Washington, with a dual appointment.
Barker is Curator for Oceanic and Asian Culture at the Burke Museum, “where we do extensive collaboration with Marshallese communities in the US to connect them to pieces in the collection made by their ancestors.” She is also a Principal Lecturer in the Anthropology Department, where she teaches several classes related to nuclear culture.
At the swearing in ceremony, Barker thanked her Marshallese family from Mili, and her mentors over the years, “people like Bill Graham, Tony deBrum, Wilfred Kendall, and Banny deBrum as well as all the community members impacted by the weapons testing who shared their stories in hopes of documenting the history and pursuing justice,” she said.
She joins Nuclear Commission Chairperson Rhea Moss-Christian and Commissioner Alson Kelen on the three-member panel.
Read more about this in the August 10, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.