U.S. Department of State and the East-West Center Convene Young Pacific Leaders in Hawai'i

Media Note
Washington, DC
January 12, 2018


The United States Department of State and the East-West Center will conduct a three-day regional conference for young leaders from Pacific Islands nations January 16-18.

The participants are a diverse group of young professionals who are making change in their communities and come from across the Pacific: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Hawai’i. They were chosen from a competitive pool of over 700 applicants.

The Young Pacific Leaders Conference (https://www.facebook.com/YoungPacificLeaders, #YPL18) reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to democracy, rule of law, human rights, and regional stability in the Asia-Pacific. It also presents an opportunity for the United States to better understand issues and priorities for the Pacific Islands from the perspective of the region’s future leaders, and to reflect on them when shaping our own policies. The conference is one of the many tangible examples of our long-standing and enduring commitment to the countries and peoples of the Pacific Islands region.

At the conference, delegates will participate in an interactive discussion on U.S. policy toward the Pacific Islands, which will feature the U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs, Matt Matthews. U.S. engagement in the Pacific Islands includes the efforts of 17 U.S. departments and agencies working on a variety of issues, including humanitarian and disaster assistance, economic development, health and education, environmental protection, and regional security.

The Young Pacific Leaders conference series was launched in 2012 at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. This year’s event builds on the outcomes of four previous gatherings convened in American Samoa, New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawai’i, and will address critical issues relating to education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development.

At the #YPL18 Conference, the Department of State will announce a small grants competition, in which alumni of the conference series will be invited to submit action-oriented proposals to fund public service projects in their home countries. This inaugural grants program will be implemented by Cultural Vistas, an American NGO, and provide seed grants to up to 12 teams.

By fostering long-term people-to-people linkages with a diverse group of dynamic Pacific Islanders, including Americans, this conference will create a vibrant network to address regional challenges.

For additional information, please contact Tina Malone, U.S. Embassy Canberra, at MaloneBA@state.gov.