WASHINGTON, DC – March 11, 2024 – The Atlantic Council announced today that David W. Panuelo, former president of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), will join the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security as a nonresident distinguished fellow affiliated with its Indo-Pacific Security Initiative (IPSI).

Panuelo served as president of the FSM from May 2019 to May 2023. His expertise will be instrumental in informing the Council’s work on US-Pacific Islands relations, countering China’s influence in the Pacific, and on a wide range of other strategic policy issues in the region.

“President Panuelo is one of the world’s leading voices advocating for international cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Markus Garlauskas, director of the Indo-Pacific Security Initiative. “He brings a unique perspective as the former top leader of a Pacific Island country. He has been a strong, courageous advocate for the FSM, and the Pacific Islands in general, to work with the United States and its allies and partners to advance common values and interests in freedom, security, and prosperity.”

Prior to his term as president, Panuelo served in various roles in FSM national and state government, and as a leader in key positions outside of government, for more than thirty years. He began his career serving abroad as a Foreign Service Officer in the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, after which he served as deputy chief of mission to Fiji and, later, to the United Nations. After returning home to serve in the cabinet of his home state of Pohnpei, he worked outside of government as a business leader and established the nonprofit Care Micronesia Foundation. In 2011, Panuelo returned to government with his election to the FSM Congress, where he served until elected by the 21st Congress of the FSM to serve as the nation’s ninth President in May 2019. Since departing office in May 2023, he has continued to advocate for a close relationship between the United States and the FSM and warn of Chinese “political warfare” in the Pacific Islands.

“President Panuelo’s emphasis on championing freedom and democracy in the Indo-Pacific aligns closely with the values and mission of the Atlantic Council,” said Matthew Kroenig, vice president and senior director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. “We are delighted to welcome him to the Scowcroft Center.”

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