News Release

Sokomanu Receives Family Values Award from Latter-day Saints

President Yvon Basil, local leader of the Church who presented the award, says the Family Values Award honours deserving individuals who work to strengthen families, which are the centrepieces of a healthy society and God’s plan for our happiness. 

The award is presented to civic, faith and other community leaders.

Upon receiving the award Mr. Sokomanu expressed his gratitude and shared insightful thoughts on the importance of family in Vanuatu communities and churches.


When Vanuatu earned its independence on July 30th 1980, Ati George Sokomanu was the first president of the country.

He served as Head of State from 1980 up to 1988, which makes him the longest serving president of the Republic of Vanuatu.

He previously held important national positions before independence, including being a minister in the Government of National Unity from 1978 to 1979.

In 1993 he became the first Vanuatu citizen to be appointed as the Secretary General of the prestigious South Pacific Commission currently known as the South Pacific Secretariat (SPC). He served until 1996.

At the age of 70, the former Presbyterian Church elder from Mele village is still active and is currently serving as the president of Vanuatu Red Cross.

He continues to inspire citizens of Vanuatu in a popular radio talk-back show that focuses, three times a week, on issues affecting the society in Vanuatu.

Mr. Sokomanu is the second recipient of the Family Values Award in Vanuatu, according to President Basil.

In 2015, Mrs. Blandine Boulekone was the first recipient of the award. She is a member of the Catholic faith who devoted an important part of her life to promote family health in the villages throughout Vanuatu from the mid-80s to the late 90s.

When discussing the purpose of the award, President Basil said that in addition to honouring good people, the award helps the community at large learn more about the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they relate to families, and builds bridges between the Church and other faiths.

Latter-day Saints believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and that families are an eternal unit that can continue beyond death.

The Church has nearly 7,500 members divided into 32 congregations throughout Vanuatu.  The first was organized in 1973. 

Mormon Newsroom Contributor: Jean-Baptiste CALO

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