Marshall Islands participant Junior Paul represented the 2017 class of the Graduate School USA’s Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). Twenty-two participants from throughout the U.S. affiliated insular areas represented the 2017 graduating class of the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). ELDP graduation ceremonies were held on June 9, 2017 at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The ELDP is funded by the U. S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and administered by the Graduate School USA’s Pacific Islands Training Initiative.

Mr. Paul’s full remarks are below:

Yokwe, ALOHA, Len wo, Kaselehlie, Ráán állim, Håfa Adai, Ali’I, Talofa, and Mogethin,

First and foremost, I thank God for this wonderful moment in Hawaii and thank all of us graduates for finally making it. Thank you my classmates for selecting me to be the speaker at our graduation. I am still a bit surprised that I got selected, but nevertheless, I am very delighted and it is really an honored responsibility.

Secondly, I’d like to recognize Nik Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary of Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, ELDP staff, families, friends, guests, and my fellow ELDP graduating class of 2017.

To begin, I along with my fellow classmates, would like to acknowledge and say thank you very much (Kommool tata) to the following individuals.

  • Nikolao Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary of Department Interior, Director of the Office of the Insular Affairs for your continued support to the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) through your office.
  • Jason Aubuchon, ELDP Program Manager – Kommool tata for all your kind support with logistical issues, well-planned programs, transportation, accommodations, and of course our stipends.
  • Brad Dude, who is from Ujae but is now living in New Orleans, LA–for all your support in terms of reminding us to do our homework, and for helping and guiding us through our ILDP and mentor progress reports. Also, for helping us reflect on our progress throughout the program.
  • Utu Abe Malae who has been taking time out of his busy schedule to travel with us; to help us with our assignments; to give us positive feedback; to support us with our ILDP and the mentoring progress, and to help us reflect on our progress with discussions.
  • Glenn Furuya & Mrs. Debbie Furuya – I’d call them the “life savers” and “wake up” callers. From Day 1 together to the last – thank you for sharing your joy, laughter, and leadership skills with us. I think we learned a lot from you both on Social Styles, which was my favorite topic, and finally the 4Ps (PURPOSE, PRINCIPLES, PROCESS, AND PEOPLE) – you guys were big rocks. We enjoyed everything you taught us through all the laughter and sad moments
  • Kevin O’Keefe and Mrs. Debbie Milks, who were very engaged in teaching us real stuff – analytical things that I’d say are very tough, but by observing and engaging with everyone else – even if I made only a small contribution was very helpful to all of us. I am very glad that I learned from you both – so thank you very much for sharing your knowledge
  • Finally, the runaway Stephen Latimer. Thank you very much Stephen for what you’ve done for us.  Your generous contributions; your kind support and care, and the love you shared with us.  I know your heart was singing to us even though you’re pursuing another opportunity. Kommool tata.

Without all of the staff support and presence with us, we wouldn’t be able to make it to graduation day today. Truly it was an unforgettable and amazing training initiative and one we’ve never experienced in our entire careers and in our leadership roles. I was very excited when I got accepted by the ELDP selecting committee and I know it was a rigorous decision making process; but I got accepted.

Initially in Guam, we learned so many leadership tips from the following guest speakers:

  • Judy Won Pat, who spoke to us about her role as volunteer in community activities and how she learned to be a good leader.
  • Robert J. Torres, Jr. who spoke to us and asked us about our own organizational issues. I thought it was a good idea for him to know our issues and ask us how we resolve them.

Not only did those speakers teach us about leadership, but we also began to learn about Micro-Poly and its requirements. The introduction of leadership topics such as LEI, ILDP, and team projects were also presented. In my opinion, it was a good start for me. I even enjoyed learning about the other classroom topics such as leading through others, managing conflict, and of course the project presentations were also very effective. Speaking of the welcoming tour and accommodations, I’d like to thank Sophia and Ealani, both humble young ladies, and brother Jerrick. He is a good driver, but tends to be very respectful, patient and a good leader of our project team. Thank you very much for hosting our first session and it was a good start when everyone got to know each other with a “DUCK FACE.”

In Saipan, definitely it was all Glenn and Debbie’s stuff.  We learned about the structure of leadership success, management, leadership styles, purpose, principles, process, and people. That time, I would say, was the most difficult week of my life experience. I am glad I was able to manage my emotions and the fact that you guys were there for me really helped. Thank you for that support.

But here is the excited show:  On Wednesday, November 24, 2016, I remember when we were transported from Aquarius Beach Tower Hotel to Pacific Island Club Saipan to watch Glenn and Debbie’s show called:  “Hi Rose.” “Oh, you look so beautiful today.” “Anything for Rose, I’ll do it.”  “You jump, I jump. Right?”

Now that doesn’t sound like a driver, he was a boss trying to be nice and kind to his co- worker. This skit was kind of like showing someone who is amiable – amiable to his co-worker.  Speaking of a hilarious move, it is something I intended to do just avoid my difficult time and show strong emotions so that we could get our job done and make us proud. Thank you Glenn and Debbie for sharing the Social Styles with us. I am now learning to become an expressive driver, but will still be amiable.

Thank you very much to the following guest speakers:

  • Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, who is an American Republican politician from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands for his advice and leadership skills he shared with the group
  • Judge Ramona Villagomez Manglona who is the presiding Judge of the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and ideas about leadership, especially what it means to be a woman and lead a nation. We learned a lot from both of you.

Kommool tata (thank you very much) to Tracy Norita, Tracy Gurerreo, Marjorie Daria, and Matthew Deleon Gurerreo, You guys are very smart and brilliant. Thank you for the great hospitality, for your kindness, and for being there for us as brothers and sisters.

In Majuro, we started to establish the Republic of Micro-Poly and it was pretty intense since we had to be ready for two types of presentations:  the group project, and the case study of the Republic of Micro-Poly. What a tough week we had in terms of working till midnight and getting up early to prepare for another big day. To my knowledge it was the busiest week for all of us.  We also had more leadership topics to cover, be engaged in Micro-Poly group assignments, group presentations, presentations from staff, and guest speakers’ presentations. Thanks very much to the following guest speakers:

  • The Honorable Tony deBrum who is the Ambassador for Climate Change
  • Charles Dominick who spoke about the good old days of the Trust Territory
  • Glenn Joseph who spoke about the protection of fishing rights

Kommool tata brother Shem for organizing our Majuro preparation to make sure ELDP participants could enter the VIP lounge; and, my sister Anjanette for your kind support, love, and care. I have a dream…one day you will both become future leaders of the RMI.

Finally, in Hawaii, here we are – finally graduating. Thanks to the program’s guest speakers for their thoughtful insights and philosophies. Let’s give them a round of applause. In the end we now know the real work of how to emerge ourselves to improve our performance. We have takeaways of the skills in leadership, management, government finance, procurement, and auditing. The design of ELDP was very instrumental as we become highly qualified, professional staff that can be promoted into leadership positions.  We will soon become the human resources people to lead our governments to the next level of performance, and into the future.

I really don’t want to end my speech early.  I want to give a big congratulations to all of my brothers and sisters from FSM, Palau and American Samoa:  Heidi, Lover, Elina, Crystal, Jewel, Sapi, Sweety, Eve, Edolem, Jonathan, and the super Steph, John, and Joe. Thank you all for being nice classmates. You guys are rock!

To the ELDP staff you have made our leadership experience truly unforgettable. What an opportunity we had!  It was definitely the most beautiful experience of our life.  It tested everything we had, emotionally, academically, socially, and physically.  But I stand before you all here today convinced and completely confident that we made the right choice in coming to ELDP.

There are some people who we must thank for giving us the opportunity of being here today. Kommool tata (thank you very much) families, friends, and our guests. You are the most significant people in our lives. Personally, my mother and my family, you are the most beautiful gift God could have ever given me. Thank you!

Finally, we must give thanks to God.  Without him, none of this would be possible.  From him we receive the peace, energy, and love for everything we do. Remember that wherever you are, God is always looking out for you.

I would like to leave you with two principles.  What I believe they lead to is happiness.

The first principle is humility. What I am asking you to do is to never forget where each one of you came from. Never forget to treat people equally in your community and your working place. With the intellect God has given us combined with the moral formation given to us by our ELDP instructors, we have the power to do any good deed we want to see done in our communities.  My brothers and sisters, remember that the actions of a person with humility are guided not by money or prestige, but by the heart.

The second and last principle is Believe in Yourself and God. Always believe in yourselves.  The only person that can put limits on what you can do during your lifetime is YOU. Remember that the way you feel about yourself will dictate how you will succeed through life’s experiences. If you believe in yourself, no one can deny you any success you dream of.  If you refuse to listen to the discouraging remarks of those who do not see potential in you, then success is waiting for you.  If you believe in yourself, everyone else will.

There is a line in Matthew 17:20 which I think will have a profound impact on your life.  It says, “If you have faith…nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

So, let’s think about it.  All you need to know is that God is always on your side.  Know that if you trust him, your goals, dreams, and aspirations will become realities. Know that faith enriches every life experience.  Where there is faith, there is love, and where there is love, there is happiness. If you apply these two principles to your lives, anything you can imagine you’ll be able to hold in your hands. Remember that when you find happiness in yourself, you’ll find success in every area of life.

I am convinced that this Class of 2017 will make history. And, wherever you go in life, never forget how much ELDP has given us many takeaways and ensure that we will always be connected to each other.

Brothers and sisters, Jeramman, Congratulations, God bless you all and THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


ELDP 2015 Graduates

Anjanette Kattil

Crystal Angela Sana-Ekichy

Ealani Flores

Edolem Ikerdeu

Elina Paul

Everdil Rechebei

Heidi Sigrah

Jerrick Hernandez

Jewel Tuiasosopo

Jonathan Francis Waayan Chugen

Joseph Saimon

Junior Paul

Lover Haimin

Marjorie Anne Daria

Matthew Deleon Guerrero

Sapioamoa Galeai

Shem Livai

Sophia Diaz

Stephanie Nakamura

Sweety Kalbesang

Tracy Guerrero

Tracy Norita


Additional information on the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) can be found online at