From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Woman from Samoa appointed new Anglican observer at the United Nations

Date 01 Feb 2001 09:07:45for <,>; Thu, 1 Feb 2001 09:17:27 -0800 (PST)


Woman from Samoa appointed new Anglican observer at the United Nations

by James Solheim

     (ACNS/ENS) A lay Samoan church leader with extensive experience in the United 
Nations as well as her church has been appointed the new Anglican observer at the 
United Nations. Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea will succeed 
Bishop Herbert Donovan, who has served as interim observer.

     Tuatagaloa-Matalavea has served as operations manager for the United Nations in 
the Samoa field office, dealing with the security of personnel and assets as well as 
supervising South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. In the Anglican Church of 
Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, she served as co-president and chair of plenary 

sessions during last May's General Synod. She gained deeper experience of the Anglican 
Communion as a member of the Anglican Consultative Council from 1987 to 1993, 
participating in leadership roles in dealing with women and family issues during ACC 
meetings in Singapore, England, Wales and Southern Africa.

     Archbishop of Canterbury George L. Carey said that her combination of church and 
UN experience "have exposed her to many of the issues concerning the well-being of 
people and communities that she will encounter in her new role." Her work in Samoa 
"gives her a unique perspective of the working of the UN in the field," said Secretary 
General John Peterson of the ACC. "Now she will bring that experience to New York as 
she 'knocks on the door' at the UN in support of the different provinces in the 
Anglican Communion."

     Presiding Bishop John Paterson of New Zealand and Polynesia said that she is "a 
respected and greatly loved figure" in the Anglican province. "Fluent in several 
languages of the Pacific nations as well as English, Faga has won hearts of all members 
of the General Synod of this church with the charming and yet perceptive manner in 
which she has chaired the committee stages of our General Synod over the last decade."

     "She will bring precisely the kind of mix of experience that is so desperately 
needed--and she will find a very welcoming community at the United Nations," said 
Donovan in an interview.

     The Rev. Brian Grieves, director of the Office for Peace and Justice Ministries, 
was a member of the selection committee. "There was a sense of excitement over the 
committee's consensus over the choice," he said in an interview. "She will bring the 
kind of passion and spirit that we want to go knocking on the doors at the United 
Nations. She is the right kind of messenger for Anglicans."

     He said that the committee had scoured the Anglican Communion, looking for the 
right person. "And this is where the Spirit led us," he said. She will assume her 
position this summer, probably on July 1. "And she will have strong support from our 
church when she moves to New York," Grieves added.

--James Solheim is director of the Office of News and Information for the Episcopal 
Church. This article is based on a report by Siphiew Sithole for Anglican Communion 
News Service.

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