EWC Awarded $970,000 for Timor-Leste and South Pacific Scholarship Programs


HONOLULU (Jan. 6, 2012) -- The East-West Center has received two grants totaling $970,000 from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to support the U.S.- Timor-Leste and U.S.- South Pacific Scholarship Programs over a five year period. These programs aim to develop a corps of leaders who will contribute to political, economic and social development in their home countries and strengthen relations with the United States.

“By investing in tertiary education through initiatives like these, the United States is helping to foster prosperity, good governance, the rule of law, journalistic freedom, and human rights in the Asia Pacific region,” said Terance Bigalke, EWC’s Director of Education.

Nine applicants will be awarded these competitive merit-based scholarships, including four undergraduate students from Timor-Leste (East Timor) and five students (three undergraduate and two graduate) from South Pacific nations, including the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Application information:
U.S.- South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP) (Deadline: Feb. 1):

U.S.- Timor-Leste program (USTL) (application forms and info available July 2012):

Recipients will complete their academic studies at the University of Hawaii or other U.S. universities focusing on critically needed fields such as agricultural or environmental science, business, communications, economics, education, international relations, political science, and psychology. The EWC will recruit, select, and place the students, provide orientation and monitor their progress through matriculation. The EWC will also provide academic advising and promote participation in activities designed to enhance the awardees’ understanding of leadership, diverse cultures, democratic processes, and human rights in the United States, including a four-week Washington, D.C. internship and community service in their home countries.

The East-WestCenter has managed the scholarship programs since the 1990s. In all, 94 graduates (58 USSP and 36 USTL) have returned home with the motivation, knowledge and cultural insights needed to take on leading roles in their nations.

Among the many leaders who have emerged from these programs are Solomon Kantha, who now serves as the National Program Officer for the U.N. International Organization on Migration in Papua New Guinea; Jude Kohlhase, who is the Assistant CEO in the Planning and Urban Management Agency of the Development Bank of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment;  Agustinho Caet, who is a National Advisor to Timor Leste’s Ministry of Education; and Jose Soares Turquel De Jesus, who serves as the International Relations and Diplomacy Advisor to the President of Timor-Leste.