Apia, October 4: The U.S. Department of State, in partnership with Cultural Vistas, is pleased to announce that 35 leaders were selected to attend the Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Embracing Equity, Inclusion, and Human Rights Workshop currently held in Samoa, from October 4 – 6, 2023.
The 2023 YPL Embracing Equity, Inclusion, and Human Rights Workshop will bring together emerging leaders from the 23 YPL-eligible nations and territories throughout the Pacific to identify salient topics across the region related to equity, inclusion, and human rights and the ways to work together to develop tangible solutions. The program will consist of pre-workshop and post-workshop virtual activities for preparation and reflection and an in-person workshop.
Launched in 2013, the Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Initiative is the U.S. Government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in the Pacific. Through programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YPL seeks to build the leadership capabilities of young leaders and strengthen ties between the United States and the Pacific. YPL focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: Education, Environment and Resource Management, Civic Leadership, and Economic and Social Development.
“I believe that now more than ever, there is a need to invest in the future generation of Pacific Leaders. Through the YPL we aim to provide a platform for young individuals to connect, learn from each other and create tangible impacts within their communities, said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Noriko Horiuchi.
The YPL also emphasizes the importance of development and stewardship. Participants actively engage in discussions and activities related to the shared challenges across the Pacific Island countries. This focus equips them with knowledge and resources to address concerns and advocate for best human rights practices in their communities. Furthermore, the Young Pacific Leaders Program provides numerous opportunities for professional networking and exposure across the Pacific. Participants have the chance to engage with renowned leaders, public figures, and subject matter experts from various fields. During the workshop they will connect with Samoa-based regional organizations like South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and Peace Corps to learn how to be better human rights advocates and partners. This exposure not only broadens their perspectives but also allows them to gain valuable insights from experienced professionals. Moreover, the program offers a platform for participants to showcase their own projects, research, and initiatives, facilitating recognition and exchange of ideas with a wider audience.
“The Young Pacific Leaders Initiative is not only committed to developing leadership skills in young individuals but also fostering cross-cultural understanding and regional cooperation. We firmly believe that this initiative will create a lasting impact on the Pacific region and contribute to a more prosperous and sustainable future,” said Chargé Horiuchi.
Through a competitive application process open to applicants from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Islands of French Polynesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and the American-affiliated Pacific including American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Hawai’i, the following participants were selected to attend the YPL Embracing Equity, Inclusion and Human Rights Workshop:
Tulimalefoi Vaofanua (American Samoa)
Siniva Mann (American Samoa)
Aioletuna Sunia (American Samoa)
Henry Manoa Heritage (Australia)
Aisake Nasedra (Australia)
Deborah Logoia (Australia)
Vilimaina Tamata (Fiji)
Lee Reef (Fiji)
Dylan Siliusi Kava (Fiji)
Haani San Nicolas (Guam)
Nawahine Lanzilotti (Hawaii)
Lexi Kaili (Hawaii)
Henty Grace Pine (Kiribati)
Nemuko Caihe (New Caledonia)
Stephanie Coulon (New Caledonia)
Cullum Peni-Wesche (New Zealand)
Nera Tautau (New Zealand)
Vaisioa Wilson (New Zealand)
Amber Holly Osima (Palau)
Sophia Teio (Papua New Guinea)
Dempstar John Kiasaka (Papua New Guinea)
Emma Minimbi (Papua New Guinea)
Sosefina Eunice Faaoso Noa (Samoa)
Eseese Moke-Ah Sam (Samoa)
Charles Dean (Samoa)
Vanessa Tanuvasa (Samoa)
Merald Ajo (Solomon Islands)
Metua Taurarii (Cook Islands)
Mereana Bishop (Cook Islands)
Nedine Songeni (Federated States of Micronesia)
Marisha A. Jones (Federated States of Micronesia)
Vailaua Lotoaniu (Tonga)
Falili Simeona (Tuvalu)
Niko Shem (Vanuatu)
Yannick Tarivuhavuha (Vanuatu)