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Cultural Vistas and the U.S. Embassy New Zealand are pleased to announce the YPL Small Grants Program is now accepting applications for the 2019 grant competition. Applications for small grant funding are due on 18 April 2019 at 11:59pm (NZT).

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 New Zealand. Cultural Vistas began administering the program in 2018 and will continue through 2019.


Cultural Vistas will host four mentorship webinars to assist interested applicants in completing their application. These webinars will help applicants articulate their project ideas; assigned team roles and organizational structure; guidance on budget creation and management; and additional support as needed prior to the application deadline. At the conclusion of each webinar, Cultural Vistas will post the video recording on this webpage.

26 March 2019, 9:00am (NZT)
2 April 2019, 9:00am (NZT)
9 April 2019, 9:00am (NZT)
16 April 2019, 9:00am (NZT)


To submit a proposal, the team must meet the following requirements:
  1. At least one team member must be a former YPL Conference Attendee.* This includes:
    • 2019 Conference: Suva, Fiji
    • 2018 Conference: Honolulu, Hawaii
    • 2016 Conference: Honolulu, Hawaii
    • 2015 Conference: Independent State of Samoa
    • 2014 Conference: Auckland, New Zealand
    • 2013 Conference: American Samoa
  2. All core team members must be between the ages of 20-35 and possess citizenship from a YPL member country.
  3. U.S. Citizens must demonstrate that their project is regionally focused outside of the United States, or be part of a cross-country team.
  4. Project must address at least one of the following themes:
    • Education
    • Environment and Resource Management
    • Civic Leadership
    • Economic and Social Development
*2018 YPL Small Grant Program core team members: Project Leaders, Project Treasurers, and Project Secretaries, are ineligible to re-apply.
Yes. The program will be conducted fully in English.
No, however, cross-border collaboration is encouraged.
Yes, it is required that each team have a Project Leader, Treasurer, and Secretary. These members will be deemed the “Core Team Members”. Not only will this make your proposal stronger but will also designate specific tasks within your project proposal.
Each team must have at least three core members (a Project Leader, a Treasurer, and a Secretary). There is no maximum number, however, you should only submit resumes for the three core team members. If you have more team members, submit an additional document listing them.
A successful project proposal is one that is feasible, reproducible, and scalable making a tangible difference in a local community and impacting at least one of the four YPL themes.
Budgeting is one of the hardest and most critical parts of your proposal. You must list all appropriate and applicable costs while remaining cost-conscious and feasible. The most successful projects are realistic in their costs. Budgets can be submitted in either USD or local currency, this must be indicated on the budget form. This budget template will be the main budget template for your project, please refer to our template to submit your project budget.
Projects can apply for up to $10,000 USD.
12 Projects will be selected for the 2019 program.
If selected, you will receive 60 percent of your funds after the kickoff workshop in June. You will then receive 35% of funds after submitting your monthly reports and your mid-term report. Finally you will receive the last 5% of the project funds after submitting your final report with project results.
Yes, all projects will be encouraged to seek crowdfunding and additional funds through the private sector to create as much impact as possible.
Projects will be evaluated by Cultural Vistas staff in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy New Zealand staff and U.S. Department of State.
No, applicants may only submit and be listed on one 2019 YPL Small Grants Program proposal.
Determinations of grant funding will occur in May 2019. Your project should plan to be six months in duration starting in late June 2019. All Projects must be completed by December 2019.
In late June 2019, three members from each team (Project Leader, Treasurer, and Secretary) will be required to attend a kickoff workshop in Auckland, New Zealand to learn valuable skills, improve their project plans, and meet fellow grant recipients.
In January 2020, each Project Leader will be required to attend a final program debriefing to deliver a presentation on the team’s project outcomes, successes and challenges, and opportunities for the project’s sustainability or replicability.
Cultural Vistas will be your point of contact for the entire process and serve as your mentor while your team is implementing your project. Any questions you may have on administration, budgeting, planning etc. Cultural Vistas will work with you on. Additionally, Cultural Vistas will host online mentorship webinars to assist you in different aspects of your project from before, during, and after the grant has completed.

Learn about 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.

Read More

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.

Read More


This map showcases the 2019 YPL LEADS Week Projects and where those projects will be taking place across the Pacific Region

Press Release

Nearly 50 Delegates Selected for the 2019 Young Pacific Leaders Conference | 8 February 2019

2018 Young Pacific Leaders Grant Recipients Announced | 25 April 2018

About YPL


The Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Program is a youth leadership development program organized by the U.S. Department of State. The program started in 2013 and has held six regional conferences in American Samoa (2013), Independent State of Samoa (2014), Auckland (2015), Honolulu (2016), Honolulu (2018), and Suva (2019). 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.


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, 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 is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, funded through a grant from the U.S. Embassy New Zealand. Cultural Vistas began administering the program in 2018 and will continue through 2019.

For more information follow the Young Pacific Leaders program on Facebook, Instagram, and via the Twitter hashtags #YPL19 and #YoungPacificLeaders.

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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.