Secretary of Health & Human Services for the Marshall Islands Government (January 2019 - present)
Secretary General of the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society (March 2017 - January of 2019)
Worked for 32 years for the people of Bikini Atoll, the last 30 of those years as their advocate and Trust Liaison (retired from the position in July of 2016).
Dual citizen of the U.S. & the Marshall Islands
Educated: University of Arizona
B.S. degree in Business Economics with Academic Distinction, elected to the Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society for Business Majors
Clarion University of Pennsylvania (1975-77)
Vice President of Student Senate, NCAA All American swimmer (1976) & PSAC State Champion swimmer (1977)
PADI Divemaster, IANTD wreck diver
Peace Corps volunteer, Namu Atoll, 1981-84. He has lived in the Marshall Islands since this time.
Certificate from the Guam Legislature recognizing various contributions to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, presented by Guam Hon. Senator Sam Mabini in Guam in September of 2011.
Life imitates Art (Watch on You Tube): On January 30 of 2014 Jose Alvarenga washed up on Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands after being adrift for 13 months from Mexico on a small fishing boat. In 2012, in the award winning Marshallese feature film THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT, a strange man washes up on another Marshall Islands beach and is discovered by Kali, a little Bikinian girl who is facing a huge set of problems of her own.
Voluntary Public Service and other positions in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia:
Past positions held:
*Peace Corps Volunteer, Namu Atoll, 1981-84 (2 years of service + 1 year extension).
*Elected and served as the Majuro Cooperative School PTA President for the 2002-2003 school year (October 2002)
*President of the Majuro Cooperative School (October 2003-2019, served 8 two year terms, President from 2007-2019).
*Served as Vice President of the Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce for 2005.
*Served as a Board member and Vice Chairman for the Prior Service Trust Fund Administration for Micronesia (January 2003--March 2004), Chairman for (March 2004--March 2005)
*Elected and served as the President of the Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce (January 2006-January 2008 for a two year term).
*Selected by the Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce to serve on the President's Economic Advisory Council, Aug. 2007-January 2008.
*Served as Chairman of the Board for the Marshall Islands Service Corporation. (July 2006--September 2008)
*Selected by Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing and the Cabinet to serve on a Commission of Inquiry into the 2007 General election, February of 2008. Read the FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY.
*Appointed to the "Comprehensive Adjustment Program Advisory Group" by the Cabinet of the RMI government (April 2009).
*Served as the Chairman of the Board for the Marshall Islands Social Security Administration [MISSA] (Vice-Chairman from 2000-2003, Chairman from January 2003-2012). Appointed for four three year terms.
*Elected to the Board of Directors for the Bank of the Marshall Islands,2003-2012. Served as the Chairman of the Audit Committee. (Elected for the April 2003-2004 term, and then reelected each year from 2004-2011).
*Selected by the Marshall Islands government to serve a 3 year term on the College of the Marshall Islands [CMI] as a Regent on the Board of Directors, (October 2004-2007, reappointed for a second term, January 2008-2011, and a third term, 2011-2014, though resigned in 2012), Chair of the 2005, 2009 & 2011 CMI Presidential Selection Committees, elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Board and was reelected to this position each year since September 2005, served as the Finance Committee Chairman for the Board and was also a member of the CMI Planning Committee and the CMI Bid Committee.
*Served on the Board for the Prior Service Trust Fund Administration for Micronesia (2005-2012)
*Charter Member of the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) as a Marshallese speaker (March 2009-April 2010).
Having lived, studied and worked in the Marshall Islands from 1981 until the present, he speaks fluent Marshallese. His wife, Regina, is a Bikini islander. They have five children, two of them by adoption, and 2 grandsons and 3 granddaughters.
His first six years in the Marshalls were all spent in the isolated jungles of the outer islands. He was a Peace Corps volunteer on Namu Atoll (1981-84). He then contracted to work with the Bikini Council on Kili Island (1984-late 1986) teaching English to the adults, teaching in the elementary school and working with the Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government Council.
After the death of former Trust Liaison, Ralph Waltz, he was asked by the Council to begin work as the Trust Liaison for their local government (1987 to 2016).
Duties of the Trust Liaison for the People of Bikini included the management and coordination of the funds allocated by the United States government to compensate the Bikinians for their suffering and to facilitate the radiological cleanup of Bikini Atoll. He acted as a liaison for the Council to the media, the U.S. government and its various agencies, the scientists who worked on Bikini, the Bikini Council's attorney, trustees, money managers, construction companies, engineers, project managers, auditors and business associates. The Trust Liaison also coordinated travel schedules, was used as an advisor and translator, managed the Bikinians' scholarship program, and was responsible for the Bikini Council's accounting.
He also managed the Bikini Atoll tourism operation for the Bikinians.
The government of the Marshall Islands awarded him an honorary "Public Benefit" Marshallese citizenship in December of 2000.
Along with his book about the people of Bikini, he has published a number of articles, academic papers and photos about the Bikinians in The Guardian (United Kingdom), World View magazine, The Health Physics Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle and others. He also published a chapter about Bikini Atoll in the book, Everything You Know is Wrong, compiled by Russ Kick.
He was named the very first Secretary General of the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society in March of 2017.
He was chosen to be the Secretrary of Health & Human Services fpr the Marshall Islands Government in January of 2019.
*Founder of Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands, a community based film production company in the Marshall Islands, (May 2008 to present).
Film Threat Interview in March of 2010 with Jack Niedenthal regarding Microwave Films and making movies in the Marshall Islands. Interview with Directors/Producers Jack Niedenthal & Suzanne Chutaro for the Guam International Film Festival Website, September 17, 2011
Interview with Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro about Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boń (The Sound of Crickets at Night)
September 22, 2012.
Article about Microwave Films on the Business Superstar website.
Radio Australia interview with Secretary of Health Jack Niedenthal, 2-18-2021