The Festival of Pacific Arts (FoPA) is the world's largest gathering of Indigenous Pacific cultures bringing together cultural practitioners, artists, academics, policy makers and researchers. A delegation of 60 artists were selected to represent Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts. Last month, Paul Paton and Young Champion, Waka Waka woman Annalee Pope from First Languages Australia attended the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam. Paul and Annalee represented Australia at the Festival’s Inaugural Indigenous Languages Conference where they discussed current work to support language revitalisation in Australia, particularly digital resources, the interactive language map, team and resource building projects. Their presentation was well received by other Pacific nations who found similarities in cultural contexts in their efforts to revitalise and maintain their languages. The festival was a good opportunity for knowledge sharing among different language groups throughout the Pacific. Paul commented that the keynote address by Dr Robert Underwood on his connection to language was one of the highlights of the festival. Dr Underwood is a politian and educator and the current President of the University of Guam.
The 12th festival was held in Guam from May 22 - June 4 and has been held every four years since 1972. The festival unites groups from 27 countries throughout the Pacific and aims to showcase arts and culture. The two weeks of festivities aim to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation for their Pacific neighbours. Hawaiʻi will be hosting the Festival of Pacific Arts (FoPA) in 2020.