U.S. State Department Announces 2019 Young Pacific Leaders Grant Recipients

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State has awarded 13 teams with funding through its 2019 Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Small Grants Program. The selected teams, representing 11 different Pacific island countries and territories, will receive up to $10,000 to implement projects in the region related to the program’s core themes of education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development.

In addition to funding, YPL grantees will attend a kick-off workshop in Auckland, New Zealand on June 25-26, where they will refine their project ideas and learn more about successful grant management. The teams will receive mentorship throughout the year to help ensure their project’s success.

The Young Pacific Leaders program is a U.S. government-funded initiative to strengthen leadership development and networking throughout the Pacific. The YPL program began in 2013 with annual conferences to bring together some of the region’s most talented emerging leaders for networking and skills development. This is the second year of the small grants initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Cultural Vistas. In 2018, 12 teams representing 11 Pacific islands received grants.

The YPL Small Grants Program was open to alumni from previous YPL conferences. Alumni include young leaders, aged 20 to 35, from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the American-affiliated Pacific (Hawaii, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa).

Visit and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and via #YPL for program updates.



The 2019 Young Pacific Leaders Small Grants Program Awardees:


‘Pasin PNG’ Our Culture. Our Pride

Papua New Guinea ????????

A series of cultural preservation workshops in villages of Morobe Province to demonstrate to local children and teenagers the traditional crafts and practices of the region. Each cultural element will be recorded on video and uploaded to an online digital library so the culture remains accessible for future generations.


Dren in Mour (Water is Life)

Marshall Islands ????????

A project to provide all households in the outer island region of the country with household water filter systems to reduce waterborne illnesses and ensure resilience to climate variability in a remote area of the country.


E Tipu E Rea Mō Ngā Rā O Tou Ao

New Zealand ????????????????????????

A leadership workshop in Auckland for Māori and Pacific secondary students from the East Coast of New Zealand focused on inspiring leaders of tomorrow and highlighting pathways for success through education.



American Samoa and Samoa ???????????????? ???????????????? 

A youth awareness program highlighting the impact of pollution in American Samoa, Samoa and the surrounding ocean, and ways the two countries can collaborate and promote eco-friendly practices to address environmental issues.


Girls CAN Camp

The Federated States of Micronesia ????????

The Girls CAN (Climate Action Network) Camp will empower the next generation of FSM women leaders combating climate change by bringing together high school girls from Chuuk for a week-long leadership camp highlighting new techniques for women practitioners in the fields of conservation, marine science and climate adaptation.


Leading From Behind

New Zealand ????????????????????????

Storytelling workshops capturing the views and stories of Pacific youth to help create more public awareness of diverse perspectives in leadership, policy, workplace environments to challenge traditional frameworks.



Fiji ????????????????

Connecting urban youth back to their communities through local workshops focused on traditional culture, highlighting where they come from, and building connections for continued engagement between urban and rural young persons.



French Polynesia and Fiji ???????????????? ????????????????

Implementing solutions for local management of washed-up plastic waste on three Pacific islands, and promoting public awareness of alternative solutions for reusing plastic materials for community development.


Inspire and Connect

New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, and Cook Islands ???????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????? ????????

The project aims to showcase inspirational stories of Māori and Pasifika people through informational videos on pathways to success and in-person career events highlighting opportunities available for professional advancement.


Rima’i for a Sustainable Living

French Polynesia ????????????????

A rural development program to raise awareness among people in French Polynesia about using handicrafts as a medium for social and economic growth to build sustained economic models and learn digital skills for advancement.


“Talita o le lumana’i” (Protector of the future)

Samoa and American Samoa ???????????????? ????????????????

An indigenous-focused leadership and environmental education program on board the Va’a Gaualofa traditional voyaging canoe, in partnership with the Samoan Voyaging Society, to empower emerging young Samoan leaders and foster environmental stewardship in their communities and the region.


Youth LIFT

New Zealand ????????????????????????

Youth LIFT (Leading Inclusive Futures Together) is a youth mentorship program for Māori and Pasifika Year 12 students in Auckland, designed to promote active and inclusive citizenship through exploring local and global social issues while developing a sense of strong community leadership.


Youth@Work – YEC

Solomon Islands ????????

A community engagement project that aims to provide unemployed youth with long-term economic security through small-scale vegetable farming support and training as a means for income generation.