CONGRATULATING NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS COUNCIL FOR HUMANITIES ON ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
(House of Representatives - July 20, 2011)

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[Pages H5269-H5270]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 CONGRATULATING NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS COUNCIL FOR HUMANITIES ON ITS 
                            20TH ANNIVERSARY

  (Mr. SABLAN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 
minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. SABLAN. Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, one of the most significant 
and enduring community groups in the Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands was formed, the Northern Mariana Islands Council for 
the Humanities. Since its founding, the council has become a well-
respected, community-based organization committed to fostering 
awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the humanities in the 
Northern Mariana Islands through its support of educational programs 
that relate the humanities to the indigenous cultures and the 
intellectual needs and interests of the people of the Commonwealth. The 
Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities has enhanced the 
lives of our residents as individuals and enhanced our community as a 
whole.
  The council's board of directors is and has always been 
extraordinarily passionate and successful in setting and achieving 
goals that benefit our diverse and remote community. The council's 
achievements belie our modest population and resources.
  Please join me congratulating the Northern Mariana Islands Council 
for the Humanities on its 20th anniversary of serving the Commonwealth 
of the Northern Mariana Islands community.
  Twenty years ago this past April, one of the most significant and 
enduring community groups in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands was formed: the Northern Mariana Islands Council for the 
Humanities.
  My island community is a melting pot of cultures, an amalgam of 
languages, the possessor of a 3,500-year-long and colorful history, and 
the newest participant in this great experiment called democracy in 
America. The National Endowment for the Humanities founding principle 
is that knowledge of the humanities--the ideas, people, and events that 
make up the record of human thought and experience--is both personally 
rewarding to Americans as individuals and critical to our common civic 
life as a nation. I suspect that nowhere is this sentiment as relevant 
as it is in the Northern Mariana Islands.
  In the two decades since its founding, the NMI Council for the 
Humanities has become a well-respected community-based organization 
committed to fostering awareness, understanding, and appreciation of 
the humanities in the Northern Mariana Islands through its support of 
educational programs that relate the humanities to the indigenous 
cultures and the intellectual needs and interests of the people of the 
Commonwealth. The Council also sponsors programs that explore, 
document, and recognize the many contributions to our community made by 
the non-indigenous residents of the Northern Marianas. In furtherance 
of these programs, collaborative relationships have been established 
with a variety of local, regional, national, and international 
organizations and individuals.
  The Council accomplishes its mission through financial support from 
the National Endowment for the Humanities, with which it is affiliated, 
as well as from the local government, businesses, and individuals 
throughout our islands. The Council has also been designated an 
``educational institution'' in the Commonwealth, enabling financial 
donors to take advantage of a local educational tax credit program.
  The Council's 13-member board of directors is, and always has been, 
extraordinarily passionate and successful in setting and achieving 
goals that benefit our diverse and remote community. Its achievements 
over the past 20 years belie our modest population and resources. In 
fact, one former board member is a recipient of the National Humanities 
Medal--which is awarded to no more than 12 recipients each year whose 
work has deepened the Nation's understanding of the humanities, 
broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped 
preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the 
humanities.
  Some current programs undertaken by the Council include: the 
nationally-acclaimed Motheread/Fatheread program that encourages 
literacy skills among parents and children; a teachers institute that 
provides primary-school instructors with a thorough overview of local 
history; a weekly radio show that provides wide-ranging humanities-
based programming; a Micronesian authors initiative that publishes the 
work of local authors; a community lecture series on humanities topics 
of interest; a multiyear project to revise the Chamorro-English 
dictionary; an initiative to promote geotourism in the CNMI; a digital 
database of primary source documents and images to facilitate the study 
of local history; and diversified classroom programs that introduce 
students to the humanities at an early age, including a poetry 
competition, a junior high school mock trial competition, an annual 
Covenant Day debate, and curricula that explore multiculturalism in the 
Commonwealth.
  Support of grassroots humanities projects in our community is also a 
primary focus of the Council. During the past 20 years, over 150 
individual grants totaling approximately $900,000 have been awarded to 
community groups through the Council's community grants program.
  At a time in our nation's history when we encounter oftentimes fierce 
polemics and uncivil discourse, humanities councils serve an

[[Page H5270]]

important role. The Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities 
has, for the past 20 years, enhanced the lives of our residents as 
individuals and enhanced our community as a whole. I have faith it will 
continue to do so far beyond the next 20 years. It promotes teaching 
and learning of the humanities in our schools, facilitates research and 
original scholarship, provides opportunities for lifelong learning, 
preserves and provides access to cultural and educational resources, 
and strengthens the institutional base of the humanities in the 
Northern Marianas.
  Please join me in congratulating the past and present directors, 
staff, and supporters of the Northern Mariana Islands Council for the 
Humanities on its twentieth anniversary of serving the Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands community.

                          ____________________