The Pacific Islands have been an essential part of the EWC since its founding in 1960, when it was charged by the US Congress to build relations between the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. After its founding in 1980, PIDP continued at the forefront of developing future leaders for the Pacific Islands. Many Pacific Island leaders have been EWC students, and Islanders continue to be a significant presence in the student and leadership programs and as adjuncts and collaborators.
The U.S.-South Pacific Scholarship Program, Funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, was founded by PIDP and continues to provide educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from South Pacific nations in fields of study meeting development needs in the Pacific islands region. Currently the EWC's Education Program manages the program.
The Future Leaders of the Pacific program has been conducted for the past 4 years (2013-2016). Funded by the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand, the program brings together young emerging leaders from throughout the Pacific Islands for an intensive 4-5 day educational workshop and networking opportunity. The young leaders are challenged to engage deeply about topics including global action for sustainability, social entrepreneurship, specific development needs of small islands states, and current trends requiring collective regional action. The group is provided the opportunity to meet with regional government, NGO, and business leaders. More than 125 youth have so far participated in the program which has been held in American Samoa, Samoa, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Honolulu.