Pius “Mau” Piailug was considered one of the greatest non-instrument navigators in the world. For ten years, it was my privilege to study with him. A Micronesian master navigator — a wayfinder — Mau passed away in July of 2010. Like many islands in the Pacific, his island home of Satawal is now threatened by sea-level rise and will likely be evacuated in due course. A study by the United Nations predicts that soon, there’ll be as many as 50 million climate refugees throughout the world.
Because Mau gave me so much, I’m committed to returning his generosity by serving his island and our broader human family. Together with UN Ambassadors representing island nations, we are working to find the resources necessary to serve the urgent needs of these communities. As Mau said, “The island is the canoe, the canoe the island.”