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The Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Small Grants Program is a competition for seed funding to implement innovative programs throughout the Pacific region. The program provides funding opportunities for YPL alumni to carry out projects focused on improving their communities, countries and region.

Selected projects will address issues or opportunities related to the four core themes of the Young Pacific Leaders Program: Education, Environment and Resource Management, Civic Leadership, Economic and Social Development.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, funded through a grant from the U.S. Embassy, Canberra. Cultural Vistas will administer the program through 2018.

Projects of the Month

Early Literacy-Let's Read Vanuatu

Promoting the development of reading and writing skills for young children in Vanuatu, this project is working with local playgroups to enhance early childhood development.

Language Roots the Tree of Culture

Focused on the preservation of Niuean cultural knowledge, this project is connecting youth living in and outside of the country through the arts, helping to maintain the identity of Vagahau Niue.

Le VĀ Talanoa

Using regionally historic architecture, Le VĀ Talanoa is bridging the gap of generational knowledge through an inspirational and innovative model focused on skill building and sustainable practices.

2018 Grant Recipients

Cook Islands

A web series showcasing Cook Islands Māori traditional knowledge in order to help preserve indigenous culture, customs, and language. The project is helping to ensure that Cook Islands Māori heritage survives and is able to be enjoyed by future generations, providing them with a strong sense of identity to become better leaders for the future.

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Fiji and Papua New Guinea

A data collection project in order to campaign the Government of Fiji for the rights and equal treatment of Deaf people across the nation and an establishment of a legal status of Fijian Sign Language. Accompanying efforts of the project are using data collection from Papua New Guinea in order to continue work on establishing the PNG Deaf Association This project is part an of ‘Inter-regional cooperation and development’ initiative.

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Focused on the promotion and improvement of early literacy, the development of intellectual skills and the increased reading ability for children aged 0-3, this project aims to create a stepping stone in the educational journey of youth and their development into well-equipped future leaders.

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New Zealand and United States (Affiliated Pacific)

An intergenerational indigenous science and engineering movement, focused on connecting Māori and Kanaka ʻŌiwi communities through an international exchange of traditional knowledge and methodology.

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Addressing the need to preserve the Niuean culture, the project provides a cultural bridge between youth in Niue and Niuean youth living abroad in order to help them reclaim their cultural identity using creative approaches and technology.

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An educational discovery of how the history and thinking behind Samoan and Pan Pacific architecture can be utilized when looking for sustainable development solutions, in particular, the critical issues of climate change and the bridging of the gap in the transfer of generational knowledge.

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Through the encouragement of a healthy and self-sustaining lifestyle and the incorporation of environment and resource management into school syllabi, the Malasitabu Project focuses on providing children in a school community, a well-rounded learning environment and further social and economic development.

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Across Palau a plethora of English children’s books can be found, but colorful and catchy Palauan children’s books do not exist. In order to promote literacy and the indigenous language in the nation, this project will be publishing and distributing the first original children’s book written in Palauan.

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In partnership with local government, researchers, youth and the community at large, this project aims to make a positive environmental, social and economic impact for the local reefs through the improvement of the future of inshore coral reef health by the manual removal of an overgrown invasive type of seaweed.

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Focused on reviving traditional approaches to farming in order to promote sustainable development, this project will connect local community members to training and different models for improving and further increasing the community’s sustainability.

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Papua New Guinea

Teachers play an instrumental role in the development of children from an early age, this project aims to improve the literacy rate and introduce students to more in-depth captivating curriculum through the advanced training of teachers in phonics, math, and child development, hoping to encourage an inclusive educational environment and to inspire the next group of future leaders.

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The Federated States of Micronesia

This project sets to address societal issues affecting youth in the Federated States of Micronesia by implementing capacity building activities in line with education and civic leadership through a mentorship program model.

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About YPL


Launched in 2013, the Young Pacific Leaders Program (YPL) is a U.S. government-funded initiative to strengthen leadership development and networking throughout Independent Pacific states, Australia, New Zealand, and American-affiliated Pacific. YPL works to build leadership capabilities of young professionals in the region and strengthen ties with the United States as a partner to address common issues.


YPL strengthens linkages between emerging leaders across the Pacific and the United States, reinforcing the U.S. commitment to the Pacific region. These relationships with the younger generation of government, civic and business leaders help to harness the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities.


The YPL community consists of bright young leaders, 20-35 years old, from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the American-affiliated Pacific.

The YPL Small Grants Program is sponsored by U.S. Department of State and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Embassy Canberra. Cultural Vistas will administer the program through 2018.

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About Cultural Vistas

Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. It develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower thousands of individuals and organizations in the United States and more than 135 countries to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society.