The first “Coral and Ice Exchange” climate tour took two students from the FSM and one from Palau to the Canadian Arctic and Greenland to connect with students from the arctic region. The climate exchange was organized by Island Research and Education Initiative (iREi), a Pohnpei-based group focusing on research and educational projects across the Western Pacific, and the Canadian organization Students on Ice. Dr. Danko Taborosi, who directs iREi, said the aim is to conduct this exchange annually and next year, they hope to include a Marshallese student in the exchange program. “We have just returned from the Arctic (Taborosi and the three students) and are now focused on making a return visit possible by by Inuit students from Canada and Greenland to the Micronesian region this coming spring,” he said. “We will also work to make this Coral and Ice Exchange an ongoing, annual event.” The Coral and Ice Exchange developed from a personal visit Taborosi made to the Arctic last year when he connected with the Canadian organization Students on Ice. “They have been organizing educational cruises in the Arctic for 20 years, and half of their participants are typically indigenous students from the Arctic and the rest are mostly students from other parts of Canada but also elsewhere in the world,” he said. “iREi has worked with SOI to create what we are calling a Coral and Ice Exchange — a program designed to connect students from Pacific islands with indigenous students from the Arctic region. This is because those two places are among the most affected by climate change anywhere in the world.” Taborosi said students learning from each other “helps with adaptations and resilience, and coordinating and acting together makes efforts more effective and indigenous voices amplified on the global scale.” The recent visit to the Arctic and Greenland involved students Karen Ehmes of Pohnpei, Chloe Arnold of Chuuk and Dylan Tellei of Palau. Both FSM students are attending Xavier High School in Chuuk. Ehmes was sponsored by iREi, Arnold was sponsored by Tarek Sherif and Sophie Nicholson, and Tellei was sponsored by Shallum and Mandy Etpison. “In the future, we hope to continue with three students each year, one Palauan, one FSM, one Marshallese,” said Taborosi.
Read more about this in the October 6, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.