Building on five years of success in collaboration with emerging leaders in the Pacific, the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with Cultural Vistas, is pleased to announce the 46 leaders from 20 Pacific countries and territories chosen to attend the 2019 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Conference taking place in Suva, Fiji from March 6-9, 2019.
Delegates were selected from a competitive application process open to leaders ages 25-35 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 Hawaii.
The conference will foster connections between new YPL delegates and past alumni to develop a regional network of young leaders. Conference sessions, led by experts from across the Pacific, will aim to provide the knowledge and skills for conference participants to address challenges related to the four YPL program pillars:
- Civic leadership
- Environment and resource management
- Economic and social development
In addition to the four-day conference in Suva, attendees the past three weeks participating in virtual activities to help the participants get to know each other and develop best practices of networking and collaboration.
Post-program activities will focus on highlighting the impact of YPL members in the region. This will include the introduction of YPL LEADS (Lead, Engage, Advocate, Drive Change, and Serve) — a weeklong event during the first week of May in which participants from 2019 and the larger YPL alumni network will collaborate with each other as they serve as advocates giving back to their communities through a service activity.
The 2019 YPL Conference delegates from Samoa:
Nathan Robert Chong-Nee: currently employed as the Executive Administrator for the Gaualofa Trust under His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, former Head of State and Prime Minister of Samoa. Formerly appointed as the Principal Child Protection Officer for the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (MWCSD), Government of Samoa. With nine years’, experience working with high needs client groups through demanding social work roles in the fields of care and protection, social workers in schools and the alcohol and drug sector in New Zealand. He held two fixed-term position as the Social Worker in Schools Practice Manager and the Special Projects and Practice Development Coordinator.
Christine Leutu Retisia Tuioti Mariner: Technical Officer for the Samoa Conservation Society. Currently, with many conventions and policies around sustainable development, Chrissy is particularly passionate about translating these high-level frameworks into practical activities for local communities in Samoa, and most importantly ensuring there is room for women in local communities to build their capacity through environmental and conservation work.
Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) is a youth leadership development program organized by the United States Department of State. The YPL network includes emerging Pacific leaders 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 Hawaii. The program started in 2013 and has held five regional conferences in American Samoa (2013), Independent State of Samoa (2014), Auckland (2015), Honolulu (2016), and Honolulu (2018). In 2018, the YPL Small Grants Program was launched—providing seed funding to implement 12 innovative projects run by 36 YPL members throughout the Pacific region.
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