Guest speaker for the Sept. 5 Distinguished Global Speaker Series program at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith will be the Consul General for the Republic of the Marshall Islands Consulate General Office in Springdale. The talk by Consul General Carmen Chong Gum, sponsored by the International Relations Office at UAFS, will be held at noon in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. Her topic will be "Republic of the Marshall Islands and Marshallese in Northwest Arkansas." The event is free and open to the public.
Consul General Chong Gum, who assumed her role as the Consul General when the Republic of the Marshall Islands government opened its consulate office in Springdale in September 2009, is a native of the Marshall Islands who has lived between two cultures since attending college at St. Mary College in Leavenworth, Kan., on a full scholarship.
Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1991, she returned to Majuro in the Marshall Islands to serve as principal of her alma mater, Assumption High School, from which she had graduated as valedictorian. She and her family returned to the United States in 1997.
Consul General Chong Gum, who has become a recognized point of contact for non-Marshallese with questions about or the need to work within the Marshallese community, previously held positions in Northwest Arkansas as a filing clerk at Tyson Foods Corporate Office, as a medical record clerk at Northwest Family Care, as a Marshallese outreach liaison at the Multicultural Center of Northwest Arkansas and as an English-as-a-Second-Language aide at Springdale High School.
She was previously a Marshallese outreach coordinator at Economic Opportunity Agency of Washington County Inc., which was funded by Tyson Foods Inc. After a year of working at EOA, Consul Chong Gum worked in the same position at the Jones Center for two years. Her position there was funded the first year by the City of Springdale and the second year by the City of Springdale and the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.
Consul General Chong Gum and husband Charlie Chong Gum have three children – 15-year-old daughter JociAnna Charmen Chong Gum, who is going to be a 10th grader at Harber High School; 13-year- old Charlie Samuel Chong Gum Jr., who is going to be an 8th grader at Central Junior High; and two-year-old Maddison Murdoch Chong Gum.
For more information, contact Takeo Suzuki, executive director of international relations, in the International Relations Office at UAFS, 479-788-7166 or email International@uafs.edu.
– Sondra LaMar, University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, August 13, 2012