Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Micronesia Challenge: Coordinator & Communications Specialist

Charlene Mersai of Palau selected as
Regional Coordinator for Micronesia Challenge
Specialist Also Selected to Head Communications Outreach

Palikir, FSM – Charlene Mersai, an environmental veteran with more than 10 years experience in the conservation field, has been selected as the Micronesia Challenge Regional Coordinator, the Micronesia Challenge Steering Committee announced today. Mersai was most recently a researcher at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC).

“Ms. Mersai brings a great deal of experience in the environmental field to the table,” said Marion Henry, Assistant Secretary with the FSM Department of Resources and Development and Chairman of the Micronesia Challenge Steering Committee. “Her in-depth knowledge of research and conservation management issues combined with the positive working relationships she has already established with key environmental groups in the region will prove to be a tremendous asset in moving the Micronesian Challenge forward.”

While at the PICRC, Mersai’s responsibilities included leading the socio-economic component of the marine protected areas pilot project, evaluation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) management effectiveness, and overseeing the national Mangrove Phytosociological Survey. Additional responsibilities included conducting underwater surveys, and the development of the Introductory Handbook for Biological and Social Monitoring of MPAs in Palau. Prior to her position at PICRC, Charlene worked with the Belau National Museum, the Palau Conservation Society, and the Koror State Government, all in conservation-oriented positions.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology & Biology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo, followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Ocean Resources Management from the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

The Micronesian Challenge Steering Committee also announced that Jeff Martin, a communications specialist with more than 20 years experience in the public relations field, has signed on to help direct communications outreach. Martin was previously the Director of Media Relations for the Council on Foundations where he provided strategic counsel to member foundations regarding national philanthropic issues and served as organization spokesperson.

Before joining the Council, Martin served as the Public Affairs Specialist for the Peace Corps. He has also worked with international firms including Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide.

The Micronesia Challenge Steering Committee was established in 2006 to oversee the regional coordination and implementation of the Micronesia Challenge, and is made up of the five Micronesia Challenge Focal Points appointed by the Chief Executives of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau, the Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust, and the Chairman of the Micronesia Challenge Support Team.

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