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International Peacemaker to illuminate climate risks in the Pacific

US visits to highlight challenges facing Tuvalu and other nations

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Tuvalu is a small country made up of a group of low-lying Islands and atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. (Photo by Angela K. Kepler via Wikimedia Commons)

LOUISVILLE — A resident of a small island nation that’s endangered by rising sea levels and global pollution will help members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to better understand the threats posed by climate change.

Maina Talia of Tuvalu, which is located roughly halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is one of this year’s International Peacemakers for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

The 2022 peacemaker contingent arrives in the United States next month and will be the first to make in-person visits since the global pandemic prompted the PC(USA) to adopt a virtual format two years ago.

During September and October, peacemakers from around the world will visit PC(USA) churches and mid councils to speak about issues facing their countries. Talia will be using videos to help show what he calls the “realities of life” for people in Tuvalu, which is located in the Polynesian subregion of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean.

“I want (to) showcase Tuvalu and the Pacific on the issue of climate change and see how our geopolitical neighbors will respond to our call for peace, love and justice,” Talia said via questionnaire. “Moreover, I want to build (a) network with PC(USA) and its members.”

Maina Talia

In his country, Talia has worked with various non-governmental organizations, including Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu (the Tuvalu Christian Church), on environmental topics and was instrumental in securing funding for an early warning system to communicate during cyclones.

He also collaborates on the regional level to make the concerns of Tuvalu heard and will be part of the drafting of a statement for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27).

“We need to keep major polluter(s) accountable as well as our Christian brothers,” Talia said.

Since 1984, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has hosted more than 350 International Peacemakers from 60 countries.

“By sharing stories of their work and witness, the peacemakers help us understand peace and justice concerns around the world and provide insights that can inspire us to greater faithfulness,” according to the program’s website. “Their visits broaden our sense of God’s inclusive family and help equip us to build a culture of peace and nonviolence for all God’s children.”

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Give to the Peace & Global Witness Offering to continue the valuable ministry of these International Peacemaker visits.

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