EWC Welcomes First Participants to New Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan

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Young leaders from 10 Pacific nations participating in program supported by Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry

HONOLULU (Sept. 10, 2013) -- The East-West Center has welcomed the first group of participants to the Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan, a new initiative designed to enhance leadership capacity in the Pacific islands region and build a network of young leaders who will contribute to lasting people-to-people relationships across the Pacific, Asia, and United States.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ting Joseph Shih welcomes participants.Participants will spend two months engaging in experiential learning exercises at the East-West Center’s campus in Hawai‘i, followed by a month of field study in Taipei at the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs. The program curriculum includes such topics as applied leadership skills, future scenario planning, social entrepreneurship and risk analysis.

 “The program will offer these emerging young professionals access to leadership skills, networks and concepts in both the U.S. and Asia that can help them build the future of the Pacific,” said EWC Director of Education Terance Bigalke.

The first cohort of 21 participants, hailing from 10 Pacific island nations, were welcomed to the program by a variety of officials from EWC and Taiwan. Participants include the first woman ever to serve as Nauru’s Police Force Superintendent, the artistic director for the 2012 Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands, Palau’s former deputy representative to the UN and the chief of protocol for Tuvalu, among other government, NGO and private sector leaders in business, environment, health and other fields.

“Taiwan is a Pacific island nation, too, with tremendous pressure on our resources,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ting Joseph Shih told the group. “And leadership is about having to make critical choices about how you allocate your resources, which is why we wanted to introduce you to this process when you are young.” Shih, who also serves as Chancellor of the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs, said Taiwan, with a strong track record in the development of fisheries resources, agriculture and renewable energy, can provide valuable assistance.