Palau: HERE WE GO!! 053111

Palau /pəˈlaʊ/, officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau), is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo.

Haven’t heard of Palau? No worries, you’re not alone. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship in 1994, Palau is one of the world’s youngest and smallest sovereign states. With a population of a little over 20,000 people, this tiny country is of a similar size to the enrolled population at the University of California Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!). Palau’s economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. In fact, if you have heard about Palau, you are probably either a Survivor fan (The 10th season of Survivor filmed in Palau) or a diver. Palau is one of the world’s premier diving locations, with its crystal blue waters and exotic fish, it’s pretty much like swimming in a life-sized aquarium. One of the most unique dive spots in Palau is Jelly Fish Lake. “Jellyfish Lake, departs radically from convention; for it is an enclosed body of water wherein – over the course of a millennia – resident jellyfish have completely lost their sting because they have not had to fight off predators. Instead, they spend their days in privileged leisure, pulsating gently from one side of the lake to the other while catching the sun’s rays and farming their own food supply of algae.” Expect lots of cool underwater photos from this place!!

So why are we going there??
My day-job is Otis staffer extraordinaire and the program I work for is the Integrated Learning Program . More than just employing some of the coolest cats at Otis College of Art and Design, the Integrated Program is an amazing college-wide initiative. Key stones of the Integrated Learning program include, students from each major working together with an outside partner; students assess said partners’ needs and try to create solutions using their art and design skills. Some of our partners include: Homeboys Industries, the LMU radio station KXLU, local elementary schools, Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association, Urban Compass and the people of Palau.

The Project
In Palau, there are war memorials for Americans and there are war memorials for the Japanese, but there are no memorials for the Palauans who have bravely fought and even given their lives towards to the pursuit of freedom. Our project with Palau looks at creating a memorial to honor the Palauan people who have bravely fought in American wars.

Over the past 15 weeks students Otis students from Product Design, Fashion, Toy, Digital Media, Communication Arts, Fine arts and Architecture have researched Palau, the culture, the land, their arts and have worked together to construct ideas for a freedom memorial that they feel will not only represent the Palaun people, but be a source of pride for all that they have sacrificed.

June 1st we leave for Palau and my stomach does little cartwheels of excitement just looking at our Itinerary;
we have so many amazing things planed:
Thurs 6/2 7:50pm – Arrival
Friday 6/3 2:00pm – Campus Tour
Saturday 6/4 Open Day
Sunday 6/5 Open Day
Monday 6/6 8:30am – Rock Islands Tour
Tuesday 6/7 9:00am – United Artists of Belau
1:00pm – Society of Historians
6:00pm – Arrival for Taping
7:00pm – Live Taping
8:30pm – Rum and Cokes, Tequila, etc.
Wednesday 6/8 7:00am – Peleliu Tour
Thursday 6/9 Open Day
Friday 6/10 9:00am – Cultural Activity and Meeting with Bilung (aka the queen of Palau) and Mechesil Belau
1:00pm – Lunch with the Council of Chiefs
Saturday 6/11 Open Day
Sunday 6/12 Open Day
Monday 6/13 Meeting With Government Officials
Tuesday 6/14 Public Meeting
Wednesday 6/15 2:35am – Depart from Koror

So here we go! I’m not sure what kind of internet access we will have while in Palau, but my hope is to update this blog as often as possible, so grab your snorkel and your sunscreen and come along and join us for a wild ride!

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