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MEDIA ADVISORY: Kiribati Honorary Consul in London to Speak on Climate Change

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2013-03-09 18:39:49 - What can Pacific Island nations do to survive on the front lines of climate change? Is relocation inevitable?

SATURDAY, March 9, 2013

The Pacific Islands Society at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) invites media to cover an upcoming address by Mr. Michael Walsh, the Republic of Kiribati's High Consul to the United Kingdom (UK), at the SOAS main building, located on Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London on Monday, March 11, from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.

Mr. Walsh's presentation considers what is and what could still be done to counter the existential threat of climate change in Kiribati. Is relocation of its people inevitable? And what would this entail?

Kiribati was long viewed by the metropolitan powers as a country which would never be viable, on size, security and economic grounds. Since Independence in

1979, however, it has been regarded as a success story in terms of governance, economic management, and democracy. Regional and international alliances have facilitated dealing with traditional security concerns and have increased the value of its exclusive economic zone. Yet, Kiribati is on the front lines of climate change. Despite its best mitigation and adaptation efforts, relocation of its people may be the only long-term option. The island nation's physical fabric may literally become uninhabitable. Mr. Walsh will conclude with a discussion on the security implications and other issues that such a move would entail.

Mr. Walsh's presentation will be the third event in the inaugural Ambassador Speaking Series presented by the Pacific Islands Society at SOAS. The series features senior diplomats from across the Asia-Pacific, including partners in the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) and other regional players. The first half of the series will conclude the following Tuesday, March 19, with a talk by Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Winnie Kiap.

Media wishing to cover this event are asked to contact Pacific Islands Society Director of Marketing and Communications Miles McKenna, at +44 (0)77-6667-6558 or by email at

WHO: Mr. Michael Walsh, Honorary Consul to the United Kingdom

WHAT: What can be done to combat climate change in the Pacific? Is relocation inevitable?

WHERE: SOAS Main Building, Room 4418, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG


WHEN: 7:15 - 8:30p.m., Monday, March 11, 2013

Eddie Walsh, President, Pacific Islands Society at SOAS; Email:
Keiko Ono, Vice President, Pacific Islands Society at SOAS; Tel: +44 020 7898-4994, Email:

About Honorary Consul Mr. Michael Walsh: Mr. Walsh has represented the Kiribati Government in the UK since 1996, as their Honorary Consul at London. He began his association with Kiribati (then the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony) more than forty years ago. He arrived in Tarawa, in 1971, as Economic Adviser to the Government, with a remit to set up the National Planning Office within the Colonial Secretariat. Over the next five years, Mr. Walsh worked on a number of vital projects in the establishment of a viable economic and financial infrastructure. After leaving Kiribati, Mr. Walsh worked as an economist in the UK civil service and the Crown Agents, before becoming a management consultant. For the last 20 years he has specialised in public sector procurement. He retired three years ago, but continues to work part-time with TERIKI Ltd., which he and his wife jointly own.

About the Pacific Islands Society (PACSOC) at SOAS: PACSOC was founded in 2012 to provide Pacific Islanders and non-Pacific Islanders alike an opportunity to learn more about the region and celebrate its importance to Asia-Pacific studies. Based here at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), we are working with our partners and friends to expand and enrich the discourse on the region. Through our speaking series, cultural events, and annual campaigns, we bring together some of the region’s most influential minds to discuss the major political, economic, environmental, and social issues facing the Pacific Islands– all while celebrating the vibrant cultures that make the region so unique and valuable to the global community.

About the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies: SOAS is the only higher education institution in the UK specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This places it at the forefront of academic scholarship on the current transformation of the Asia-Pacific. Highly specialized academic staff focusing on diplomacy, language studies, and regional expertise give SOAS unique insight into the key issues facing Asia, and the rest of the world. Democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, and social change are at the heart of SOAS’ academic disciplines and intellectual inquiry. This distinct academic focus makes SOAS an indispensable centre for analysing, understanding and explaining historic and emerging trends in our complex world.

Press Information:
Pacific Islands Society at SOAS

Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

Contact Person:
Miles McKenna
Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: 02078984106
email: email


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