Longest Serving Pacific Leader Turns 76 – Happy Birthday Papa Stui

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Samoa’s longest serving Prime Minister Afioga Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi was born 14 April 1945 – and turns 76 today!

Currently caretaker Prime Minister as Samoa awaits the official declaration of the 2021 general elections, Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele has served as the Prime Minister of Samoa and Leader of the Human Rights Protection Party for over 22 years, since November 1998.

Affectionately known as “Stui” Tuilaepa became the first elected leader in the world to represent his country at a multi sport event when he took up archery to become of one of the athletes of the Pacific Games in 2007.

Having taken up the sport only five months prior to the Games,  the Samoa Prime Minister responded to a call from local sports administrators for as many Samoans as possible to compete so the host country could be represented in every event.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to show to our young men and women that even the leaders are prepared to act to give examples,” said Tuilaepa.

Honorable Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi first entered parliament in 1981 when he won a by election to represent the electorate of Lepa. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the government of former Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana, and in addition also held the portfolios of Tourism and Trade, Commerce & Industry.

Tuilaepa was born in Lepa, Aleipata and educated at Marist Brothers School, Apia; St Joseph’s College, Lotopa before continuing his education at St Paul’s College in Auckland, New Zealand.  He attended the University of Auckland where he gained his Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Commerce degrees.

Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Victoria University.

Samoa’s Prime Minister has been awarded three Honorary Doctorates. His first honorary award came in 2012, a Doctorate of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW); the second in 2014 was a Doctorate of Economics from the National University of Samoa (NUS), and in 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree by the University of the South Pacific.

Before entering politics, Tuilaepa served in Government in the Department of Treasury and also as Expert Intra-ACP Trade, Transport & Communications with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) General Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. He holds Chairman positions in many organisations and corporations in Samoa as well as in international organisations.

Tuilaepa is married to Gillian Meredith, and they have eight children. He is a member of the Catholic faith in Samoa.

Regionally the Samoa Prime Minister is the longest serving Pacific Island Forum Leader and has been instrumental in taking the Pacific’s climate change positions to the International stage.
Tuilaepa speaking at the Lowy Institute, 2018

Over the years, Tuilaepa has become well known as a leader who does not mince words when sending a message.

Tuilaepa’s key message to developed countries is that “greater ambition” is needed to stop impact of climate change. He warns geostrategic competition is creating uncertainty for low lying Pacific Island countries faced with “existential challenge”, and developed countries needed to reduce pollution in order to curb rising temperatures and sea levels.

During an address to the Lowy Institute in 2018 Stui lashed out at climate sceptics and urged Australia to make deeper cuts to carbon emissions to help save Pacific Island nations from the “disaster” of climate change.

“We all know the problem, we all know the solutions, and all that is left would be some political courage, some political guts, to tell people of your country there is a certainty of disaster,” Mr Sailele said.

Ministerial Portfolio:

  • Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Public Service Commission
  • Legislative Assembly
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of the Ombudsman
  • Samoa Law Reform Commission
  • Samoa Bureau of Statistics
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA)

Other Responsibilities:

  • Executive Council
  • Honours and Awards
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Scholarship Committee
  • Remuneration Tribunal
  • Cabinet Development Committee
  • Registry of Births/Deaths/Marriages
  • National Parks, Recreation and Water Conservation
  • National Disaster
  • Meteorology and Forestry

Matagaluega i lalo o lana vaavaaiga:

  • Matagaluega a le Palemia ma le Kapeneta (e aofia ai le Ofisa o le Kapeneta ma Mataupu tau Femalagaiga, Sooupu & Savali)
  • Matagaluega o le Va i Fafo ma Fefa’atauaiga
  • Komisi o Galuega a le Malo
  • Ofisa o le Fono Aoao Faitulafono
  • Ofisa o le Loia Sili a le Malo
  • Ofisa o le Komesina o Sulufaiga
  • Komisi o le Toe Fuataiga o Tulafono a Samoa
  • Fa’alapotopotoga o Fuainumera Fa’amauina
  • Matagaluega o Punaoa Faale-natura ma le Siosiomaga
  • Pulega o Tineimu ma Faalavelave Tutupu Faafuase’i

Isi Matāfaioi:

  • Fono Faatonu
  • Faailoga Taualoa
  • Faalapotopotoga e le o i lalo o le Malo
  • Komiti o Sikolasipi
  • Komisi Faapitoa o Totogi
  • Komiti Atinae a le Kapeneta
  • Fa’amaumauga o Tagata Fananau/Maliliu/Faaipoipoga
  • Eleele Faasaoina, Mataaga ma Suavai Faasaoina
  • Faalavelave Faafuase’i Matuia o le Natura
  • Vaaitau ma le Vaomatua