JSA, NMC host Civics Institute Micronesia for 2nd year in a row

2023 Civics Institute Micronesia Program

Ten high school students from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands spent the last week on Saipan taking college-level courses in media and democracy at Northern Marianas College as part of the Junior State of America’s Civics Institute Micronesia.

For the second year in a row, NMC was selected by JSA to be the host institution for its newest summer program, Civics Institute Micronesia, a weeklong residential program on Saipan designed to engage high school students with the most pressing issues facing the Pacific today and to challenge them to look beyond differences and focus on action-oriented solutions. Participants gain a complete understanding of critical issues directly from the decision-makers who shape public policy and apply lessons learned to generate ideas for direct action in their communities.

In partnership with NMC, the program’s core course is Media and Democracy, which is taught by journalist and NMC adjunct instructor Thomas Mangloña II, who is an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, where he obtained a B.A. in Media Studies as a Gates Millenium Scholar, and graduated with an M.A. in Journalism from Stanford University, where he was a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He is currently the chief regional correspondent for KUAM News on Saipan.

“These students have critically engaged with issues to our democracy,” Mangloña said. “They’ve selected topics such as domestic violence, government corruption, and discrimination to focus on this week and have not shied away from asking hard questions or having hard conversations. People often say the youth are our next generation of leaders, but JSA proves that they have arrived and are already leading.”

The program’s featured speakers include CNMI Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature, the CNMI Supreme Court, the CNMI Superior Court, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

"For nearly 30 years, the Junior State of America has been entrusted by the Department of the Interior to provide civics education and leadership training to students from the US Territories and Freely Associated States,” JSA Chief Program Officer Andee Steinman said. “Knowing that travel has been, and will continue to be challenging in the post-COVID era, we were inspired to bring our programming to the CNMI. In partnership with NMC, we are thrilled to be able to reach so many students who we have missed so much over the last few years. Accessibility and participation for our students across the globe remain high on JSA's list of priorities."

This year, the 10 students selected to attend Civics Institute Micronesia are:

  • CC Tessie Mori (FSM, Xavier High School)
  • Jeremiah Suliol (FSM, Xavier High School)
  • John Vincent Retalmai (FSM, Xavier High School)
  • Karen Semens (FSM, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School)
  • Karishma Paul (FSM, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School)
  • Kayla Yamada Irons (FSM, Pohnpei Seventh-Day Adventist School)
  • Nia Wase (Marshall Islands, Majuro Cooperative School)
  • Ryu Nakasone (FSM, Xavier High School)
  • Yu Nakasone (FSM, Xavier High School)
  • Yuji Silbanuz (FSM, Pohnpei Seventh-Day Adventist School) (PR)

Civics Institute Micronesia was made possible through a grant from the US Department of the
Interior Office of Insular Affairs.

For more information on Civics Institute Micronesia, please contact Laurel Fischer at
lfischer@jsa.org or Kevin Bautista at kevin.bautista@marianas.edu.


July 08, 2023