Prime Minister Danny Philip has encouraged all citizens of Solomon Islands to take pride and full ownership of the upcoming Festival of Pacific Arts next year.

Solomon Islands will host the festival from the 1st to 14th of July 2012 under the theme "Culture in Harmony with Nature".

In meeting with the Festival National Organizing Committee this week, Prime Minister Philip says hosting the Festival is a huge opportunity for Solomon Islands to showcase its unique arts and cultural diversity to the outside world.

He describes hosting the festival as a "Confidence Booster" for the government to host other big events here in the future.

Prime Minister Philip also adds that hosting the Festival will help eliminate the negative image of the country to the outside world after the troubles we have gone through as a nation.

He said the NCRA Government is prepared to assist the National Organising Committee with resources to ensure the country successfully hosts the biggest cultural event.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Philip was briefed by senior members of the National Organising Committee together with Chairpersons of technical committees of the progresses made so far.

The Prime Minister is encouraged with the National Organising Committee of the planning process and progresses made so far although they have gone through financial problems and pressure of time at the beginning of the year.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism Samuel Manetoali and National Organising Committee Chairman Sir George Lepping assured Prime Minister Philip that Solomon Islanders will be proud of what lies ahead of us next year.

A total of 27 pacific countries with more than 3000 participants will converge in Honiara to celebrate the festival in July 2012.

Source: Press Release, 11th Festival of Arts Committee