BY MORGAN LEGEL
Journal Staff

The 2020 calendar will feature familiar events on Guam and Saipan, but a newer, more diverse offering is making its way into the mix as well.

Events like inclusivity seminars, immigration talks, religious gatherings, cybersecurity information sessions, victim seminars, conservation galas, microgreens workshops and women’s marches are all popping up on the calendar already, less than a month into the new year.

Guam Community College’s E2 Symposium on Jan. 24 will focus on the engagement and empowerment of underserved groups on the island, such as the LGBQT community.  The symposium will delve into how the island can foster greater inclusion while respecting the diversity that makes each community so vibrant.

 “GCC is continually looking at ways to meet the needs of our community, as we take our ‘middle name’ very seriously,” said Ray Somera, GCC’s vice president of academic affairs, who coordinated the symposium. “Rather than look at the challenges, we look for the opportunities.”

Intended to be broad-based and cover communities on Guam and in Micronesia, E2 will feature keynote speaker John S. Cruickshank, a senior federal agency official at the National Science Foundation and the staff associate for policy in the division of research and learning. Cruickshank is a part of the NSF’s insular areas outreach program, which brings NSF officials to U.S. territories, like Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. He has held other workshops on Guam previously.

Another 2020 standout event is the Marianas Festival of hope that will be making its way onto Guam.

Marianas Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham, son of William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr., is an outreach of the evangelical, Christian and non-denominational churches that partner with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to reach the NMI, and now Guam.

The Saipan event will be on Feb. 21, while Guam’s Guåhan Festival of Hope With Franklin Graham will be Feb. 23 at the Dededo Sports Complex. Guam’s event will feature speeches and sermons, along with musical performances. These are free events.

During 2019, some 35 churches came together in Saipan for
the event.

Launched in Saipan, this event began “amidst chaos and destruction after the typhoon,” said the Rev. Manuelito Rey, general chairman of the senior leadership team for Marianas Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham.

“There’s nothing more than a fitting response, but to instill hope to people who found themselves feeling hopeless,” he said. “The magnitude of [Saipan’s] loss was so great that the desire to restore and rebuild was beyond their capacity.” mbj