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Odo Tevi (seated right)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies (CPIS) hosted the Republic of Vanuatu’s permanent representative to the United Nations, New York, H.E. Ambassador Odo Tevi in October.

Tevi at a podium speaking in front of a screen

At an event on the Mānoa campus for faculty, students and the broader community, Tevi spoke on the Vanuatu government’s leadership in the initiative to request an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). His talk focused on the diplomatic processes and strategies, the supportive roles played by various groups and individuals, and the challenges faced.

The event featured an opening ʻoli by Welaahilani Wāhilani, a CPIS welcome by Director Alexander Maywer. Tevi shared some of his experiences navigating the diplomatic processes and coalition building necessary to mount a global campaign for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. This was followed by a moderated question and answer with Associate Professor Tarcisius Kabutaulaka. Tammy Tabe, Oceania research fellow at the East-West Center, provided concluding thoughts and shared resources for the audience to engage and follow the movement for the ICJ advisory opinion.

Despite the challenges, on March 29, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Resolution to request an advisory opinion from the ICJ. It was co-sponsored by a coalition of 132 countries.

The success at UNGA was due largely to the diplomatic work conducted by Vanuatu’s Permanent Mission to the UN, headed by Tevi.

“On behalf of the LLM [master of laws] students, we are privileged to co-host Ambassador Odo Tevi in our university,” said LLM student Solomon Yeo. “His presentation underscored the notion that a nation’s size is irrelevant to the elucidation and progressive development of international law; what truly matters is its political will. I hope his words can inspire students in this university to rise to the challenges of our time, just as the students at the University of the South Pacific did in 2019.”

After the talk Tevi joined informal conversations over kava. He was also the guest of honor at a picnic held at Magic Island.

Tevi’s visit and talk was co-sponsored by CPIS, the William S. Richardson School of Law, the East-West Center, the Pacific Islands Development Program and the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change.

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