Rest in Peace Sen.Kathy Kesolei of Palau

One of the most respected women leaders in this island nation, who is the current Vice President of the Senate, has passed away.

Senator Kathy Kesolei was called to her eternal rest on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at St. Luke’s Global City Hospital in Manila, Philippines after a bout with cancer. She was 75.


Kesolei’s two sons and Senator Joel Toribiong, a close relative, was with her when she passed away, according to a source.

The remains of the late senator are scheduled to be brought back to Palau today.

Kesolei is serving her second term as member of the Palau Senate. She was first elected to the Senate in 2008.

Kesolei is also a well-known anthropologist, educator, historian, poet, and advocate. She is one of Palau’s leading experts in cultural conservation and champion of initiatives celebrating Palauan culture, history, and transmission of knowledge.

Her life has long been dedicated to promoting cultural awareness and conscientious stewardship of traditional lands, knowledge and resources to safeguard heritage and promote sustainable development.

Her work as Senate Vice President has included efforts to realize the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the introduction of a bill to create the Bureau of Social Services under the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs. She also introduced the Palau Family Protection Act in 2010 with a specific aim of addressing family violence and enforcing protection for victims and legal consequences for perpetrators.

Kesolei has also served on many boards, commissions, and authorities of the Government and has represented the women of Palau in regional and international conferences.

Kesolei earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Senator J. Uduch Sengebau-Senior said the consensus among senators is to pass a resolution declaring a vacancy only after Kesolei is laid to rest. There is still no schedule for the funeral of the late senator.

“The resolution could be acted by next week or later,” she stated.

According to her, the Palau Election Commission (PEC) is mandated to hold a special election to fill the vacancy within 30 to 60 days after such resolution is passed.

The last special election to fill a vacant Senate seat was held in 2011 after then-Senator Adalbert Eledui passed away. The seat was won by now Senate President Camsek Chin.



  • My condolences to the late Kathy Kosolei. I have known her since the TTPI era and for sure she will be missed not only by her family but the Palau govt.
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