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Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011

Peace Corps Volunteer Spotlight: Elena Borquist Noyes

Country of Service: Tonga
Title: Business Advisor
Time in Country: 2009–present

Elena is currently using her Willamette's Atkinson Graduate School of Management education as a Peace Corps Volunteer, advising the Tonga Development Bank and the Langafonua Gallery and Handicraft Centre, a well-established handicraft shop in downtown Nuku'alofa. She supports the artistic and economic development of the artisans of the Langafonua Gallery and is working to raise awareness of traditional and modern Tongan craft.

Smithsonian FolkLife Festival: Elena will accompany one of the Tongan artists, Mele, to the Festival where she will be weaving in the traditional and modern Tongan way.

"Among Volunteers and the local community, I'm known as 'the handicraft Volunteer.' I love my work at Langafonua Gallery, supporting the artistic and economic development of the artisans involved, and am always looking for new ways to raise the value and public awareness of traditional and modern Tongan craft. One of the most prominent artists associated with Langafonua Gallery is Mele, the weaving demonstrator at the Festival, and she and I are thrilled to show the beauty of Tongan craft to the international Festival crowd."

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Last updated Nov 20 2013