The National, Friday 24th August 2012
A VISITING United States congressman has praised the preservation of unique cultural and traditional heritages of the country.
American Congressman Michael Honda, who flew into the country on Wednesday from his tour of South Korea and Vanuatu, said he was proud to see Papua New Guinea still preserving its biodiversity of more than 1,000 unique cultures.
He was on an invitation from Finance Minister James Marape after they met in California.
Honda, 71, has represented the 15th Congressional district of California for several decades.
In congress, he is a member of the powerful house of appropriation and budget committees and co-chair of the Democratic caucus new media working group and a chair of the Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and a member in the Democratic Party, of which President Barack Obama is a member.
He is the House Democratic senior whip and the author of the Equity and Excellences Commission now housed in the US Department of Education.
Honda was in the country after visiting Vanuatu and officiated at the launching of the Marape Education Foundation in Port Moresby.
Honda said he was proud to learn of a culture that was truly alive, unlike some countries where cultures and traditions were dying fast.
“It is wonderful to see people hang on to cultures and traditional values. You have embraced your biodiversity of unique cultures. You have conserved it for the younger and future generations. This is wonderful indeed,” he said.
He encouraged the people to continue to take pride in their heritage and in the preservation of cultures and traditions.
Honda witnessed the opening of the ninth Parliament on Tuesday.