James Lukan

Chair - FSM Chapter

From a humble background in education, James quickly became a proficient spokesperson for the disadvantaged local Yapese community in matters of cultural preservation and heritage protection. He brings sincerity, an international outlook and a strong sense of belonging to the efforts of the PIHF.

Professional Experience

James was nominated and confirmed as Director of the Department of Resources & Development with the Yap State Government, serving the Honorable Governor Tony Ganngiyan. In this impactful capacity he carefully sought a workable balance between sustainable local development in rural and off-island locations and the preservation of the rich local heritage and cultural values of the greater Yapese community.

James entered the workforce as a teacher in the State of Pohnpei and subsequently transitioned to the FSM National Government as Assistant Director for Emergency Management.

External Appointments

While with the FSM Government he completed two leadership programs, namely the Executive Leadership Development program and the Young Pacific Leadership Fellowship.

As a Technical Trainer with the United States Peace Corps, James served for a period of three years throughout the Federated States of Micronesia.


Prior to James attaining his Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, he received an Associate Degree from the College of Micronesia in Liberal Studies & Education as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in conjunction with the University of Guam. James is also a graduate student of the Pohnpei Agriculture & Trade School, majoring in all aspects of construction.

Country Report

The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean; they became part of a UN Trust Territory under US administration following World War II. The eastern four island groups adopted a constitution in 1979 and chose to become the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the westernmost island group became Palau. Independence came in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the US, which was amended in 2004. The COFA has been a force for stability and democracy in the FSM since it came into force in 1986. Present concerns include economic uncertainty after 2023 when direct US economic assistance is scheduled to end, large-scale unemployment, overfishing, over-dependence on US foreign aid, and state perceptions of inequitable allocation of US aid. As a signatory to the COFA with the US, eligible Micronesians can live, work, and study in any part of the US and its territories without a visa – this privilege reduces stresses on the island economy and the environment. Micronesians serve in the US armed forces and military recruiting from the Federated States of Micronesia, per capita, is higher than many US states.


Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia.

Land Mass

702 km2

Official Languages

English, Chuukese, Kosrean, Pohnpeian, Yapese



Head of State

David Panuelo




Federal Republic in free association with the USA


Economic activity consists largely of subsistence farming and fishing, and government, which employs two-thirds of the adult working population and receives funding largely – 58% in 2013 – from Compact of Free Association assistance provided by the US. The islands have few commercially valuable mineral deposits. The potential for tourism is limited by isolation, lack of adequate facilities, and limited internal air and water transportation.

Under the terms of the original Compact, the US provided $1.3 billion in grants and aid from 1986 to 2001. The US and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) negotiated a second (amended) Compact agreement in 2002-03 that took effect in 2004. The amended Compact runs for a 20-year period to 2023; during which the US will provide roughly $2.1 billion to the FSM. The amended Compact also develops a trust fund for the FSM that will provide a comparable income stream beyond 2024 when Compact grants end. The country’s medium-term economic outlook appears fragile because of dependence on US assistance and lackluster performance of its small and stagnant private sector.

Gross Domestic Product

USD 348 million total
USD 3,400 per capita

Public Debt

24.5% of GDP

IDD Country Code


External Debt



Exports USD 88.3 million


United States Dollar (USD)

Population below poverty line


Unemployment Rate


Import - Partners