micsem.org / about micsem / current projects
What's Going On?

(Updated October 2009)

  Website Makeover

Within a few months there will be new look to the MicSem website. Webmaster Jason Aubuchon and his assistant, Sepio Joseph, are redesigning some of the features of the website. The result will be, we hope, a more easily readable and searchable site that is even more attractive than at present.

One of the new features of the website will be a page on music that introduces visitors to the collection of 15,000 songs, hymns and chants that MicSem now has in its collection. These musical tracks will soon be able to be searched on-line, just as publications, photos and videos can be now.


  Music Collection

We're still on the hunt for island music of all sorts, new and old, to add to our collection of Micronesian music. We currently have about 15,000 pieces of music-most of them from Pohnpei, Chuuk and the Marshalls. They include hymns and religious songs, but also love songs, reggae and rap, and a few old chants and laments for the dead. Please help us out if you have anything that we might add to the collection, especially if it is older music.

Our music collection has all been converted to digital format and it has been cataloged by title, artist, theme and island so that it can be searched on-line. In time we will be posting the music list on our website so that the music can be made accessible to those who want to make use of it..


  Photo Collection

We're also looking for old photos to add to the collection of nearly 60,000 that MicSem holds. Recent acquisitions include select photos from the work done by Tim Rock, the well-known undersea photographer who has been shooting the area for over 30 years. We have also added photos from Spanish archives and museums, done with the support of a grant from the Cervantes Institute in Manila. Former Peace Corps Volunteers from 40 years ago have also contributed to our holdings. If you have anything you think is worth scanning, please contact us.


  Public Awareness Radio Programs in Chuuk

Sometimes people ask us what we're doing for Chuuk. Thanks to a recent AusAID grant from the Australian government, we can now tell them that we have embarked on producing a series of radio programs in Chuuk to address one of their most serious needs: an honest discussion of the most serious needs of this troubled state. Drawing on the experience of a wide range of Chuukese people, we are beginning a series of radio programs to help them understand and address the "Chuuk problem." The purpose of the radio series is to inform and to stimulate discussion, even as we challenge people to contribute in their own way to help solve some of the state's problems.

  Remittance Study

At least for FSM, if not for Palau and the Marshalls, one of the major sources of money in recent years is remittances-that is, the money sent back to relatives and friends by islanders living and working abroad. We estimate that in FSM remittance funds are second only to US Compact funds in contribution to the overall economy. Hence, MicSem has submitted a proposal to the US Department of Interior to do a survey of the total remittance flows into FSM, Palau and the Marshalls. There has been no word yet as to whether this proposal will be funded. But if it is, by the end of this six-month project we should know the approximate dollar amount that is flowing into the economy from the labor that we export overseas.

  Update of Schools Page

With the help of a grant from New Zealand Aid, we are trying to update our section on public elementary schools in Micronesia–Palau and the Marshalls as well as FSM. We will be adding schools that were not shown before, especially in the atolls, if we can obtain recent photos of these schools and the other information needed for our description of them. We will try to offer more current photos and descriptions of the schools in the area that have been improved in the past year or two. Finally, we hope to be able to add the average 8th grade test scores to give the public a better idea of how these schools are performing.

We could use your help in this project, too. We would welcome exterior and interior photos of the schools in the outer islands along with updated information on these or any of the other schools.


  Photo Albums

Over the past several years we have posted a total of 30 photo albums on-line, all of them on one historical theme or another. We will soon be introducing a new series of photo albums, the first of which is on underwater patterns of sealife. The new series will be initiated when the new website design is finished.

Meanwhile, we are expecting assistance from FSM Historic Preservation Office to allow us to convert the best of our historical photo albums into short videos with voice narrative. These videos will be offered to the public as a DVD package and posted on-line for viewing as streaming videos.



  Videos

The Missing Micronesians, a sequel to our 2006 video Micronesians Abroad, is now being edited for release in early December. This one-hour video, produced with the assistance of a grant from the FSM Congress, will explore the impact of emigration on these islands. It will also document the ways in which emigrants remain in contact with and help their families and friends back home, especially through the ever larger sums of money they send back to the islands

Power Comes in Many Forms, a video on renewable energy sources, is also due to come out by the end of this year. This video will document the potential of water, wind, sun and coconut oil to provide some of the energy that now comes from petroleum. It will offer practical advice for those who might wish to make use of these alternate sources of energy. The project is funded by a grant from the European Union.