• Event

PICRC’s supporters donate over $91,000 at the 23rd Anniversary Fundraising Gala Dinner

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) celebrated its 23rd anniversary on Thursday, January 18 with a fundraising gala dinner on PICRC’s grounds. Based around the theme “Navigating Changing Seas”, the Gala acknowledged the transitions that the Center faced over the last few years, the challenging nature of ocean conservation, the Center’s expansion into Palau’s deep open ocean, and the further development of nearshore research and monitoring.

This sold-out event, with over 250 attendees, was co-hosted by President Surangel Whipps, Jr., Ambassador Richelle Turner of the Australian Embassy, and Ambassador Orikasa Hiroyuki of the Embassy of Japan.  Attendees included the Rubekul Belau, Mechesil Belau, state governors, members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), ambassadors, government and NGO partners, and community members.  PICRC would like to acknowledge all donations, in particular contributions from the Australian Embassy, IP&E and the Palau Pacific Resort, with the total amount received over $91,000.

“[PICRC’s] groundbreaking work not only benefits communities here in Palau but communities across the region and broader communities around the world,” stated Ambassador Turner during her speech. “Climate change is impacting our ocean at a faster rate than ever before and PICRC is adapting the research scope and strategy to provide the science and knowledge needed to assist future generations. This includes research into understudied ecosystems—the mangroves and the pelagic oceans, and new projects on seagrass monitoring, coral reef restoration, and ocean acidification.

“The ocean is always changing, none of us can navigate it alone and we are delighted to partner with PICRC.”

The evening comprised of a three-course meal provided in collaboration with Palau Pacific Resort, drinks donated by Shimbros International, and entertainment by talented local artists, Kendall Titiml and Kelau Remeliik.

The Gala Dinner also included the announcement of the recipient of the 2024 Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. Environmental Award. The Environmental Award is presented every other year to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to conservation and management efforts in Palau.

This year, PICRC was thrilled to announce Yalap P. Yalap as the recipient of the award.From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Yalap implemented the Uel a Sechelid (Turtles Are Our Friends) Conservation Education Campaign with outreach to schools and community organizations. The Mechesil Belau (Palau Women Organization) drove changes to the national turtle regulations. Environmental conservation is Mr. Yalap’s passion. He continues to protect Palau’s environment through speaking to friends and family about turtle regulations, their life cycle and their importance in Palau’s marine ecology.

During his speech, Mr. Yalap highlighted the importance of educational outreach for conservation and talked about his goal of having the school children as message carriers.

In addition to the Fundraising Gala, PICRC is gearing up to host another big event as part of its anniversary celebrations. From January 23-25, the annual education carnival will take place on PICRC’s grounds with activities on mangroves, deep sea adaptations, and sustainable fishing. The carnival is fully booked with 12 schools and estimated to reach approximately 500 students.

“Thank you to everyone who attended our 23rd Anniversary Fundraising Gala Dinner,” stated PICRC’s Interim CEO, Caryn Lkong Koshiba. “We are in awe and very grateful for the overwhelming support from the Palauan community. This Gala Dinner is our most significant fundraising event of the year and we appreciate everyone who made our 23rd anniversary such a memorable evening. We look forward to welcoming school children to PICRC in the next few days to conduct our largest outreach event of the year.”