ANCHORAGE (AP) Indigenous people in Asian and Pacific nations have much to learn from Alaska Natives in reducing poverty and establishing firm economies, according to a retired Pacific Rim executive.
Karti Sandilya, retired North American resident director of the Asian Development Bank, said his institution is looking to Alaska Natives as possible consultants.
''They could help both the governments and indigenous communities'' of participating countries in Asia and the Pacific, he said.
At the same time, Alaskans would build their own confidence through their exposure to the Asian Development Bank, by working with various governments and indigenous peoples, he said.
Sandilya was a keynote speaker at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage in late October.
Through a partnership with the Asian Development Bank, there would be opportunities to look at all types of economic development, said AFN president Julie Kitka.
''Their mission is poverty reduction linked with economic growth,'' Kitka said. ''We believe that where they are going, they can benefit from partnership with native people in the U.S.''
The Asian Development Bank has an overall goal of reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. It is a nonprofit, multilateral development finance institution that engages in mostly public sector lending for development in its member countries.
The bank also maintains close working ties with other international organizations, including the World Bank, through project co-financing, consultations and regular exchanges of information about ongoing projects.
Sandilya said he felt indigenous peoples in Asia and their governments would be more accepting of ideas coming from Alaska Natives ''than a Ph.D. or economist from a university who has dealt with indigenous communities. Their advice will be much more credible.''
Sandilya and Kitka met about a year ago in Alaska, when Sandilya came north as part of an economic development mission to northern Canada. When they were introduced, Kitka wanted to know how the Asian Development Bank could help AFN make better connections in Asia.
Now talks are under way for a Hawaiian conference next fall, to exchange ideas between Asians, Pacific and Hawaii representatives on varieties of economic ideas, he said.
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