EWC Students from South Pacific and Timor-Leste Gain U.S. Insight, Experience Through 2015 D.C. Internships


WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2015) – Nine college students from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste who are studying in Hawai‘i on East-West Center-administered scholarships are wrapping up six-week internships in Washington, D.C. designed to offer them professional experience and help expand their understanding of American society.

2015 USSP-USTL interns visit the office of American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

The students are pursuing degrees at University of Hawai‘i campuses under special scholarships funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by EWC. (View a photo gallery of the students in D.C.) The Washington internships are being coordinated by institutional partner the Osgood Center for International Studies.

“The USSP and USTL scholarships hold a special place among the East-West Center’s educational offerings because of the unique island cultures that the participants come from,” said EWC Interim Director of Education Mary Hammond. “We’re pleased to have been able to offer these internships in Washington as part of the scholarships, which have given the students a wonderful opportunity to gain confidence and grow professionally, as well as to gain personal experience and insight into American life.”

The nine students were provided with a six-week internship during which they received a professional appointment in Washington, D.C. or environs, in an organization, company or government agency that is engaged in work related to their major field of study and career interests. During their internships, they also engaged in scheduled and informal cultural enrichment activities in order to expand their understanding of American society.

The students and their internship sites are:

  • Ms. Nellie Kati (Papua New Guinea ), Political Science, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Internship: Osgood Center for International Studies
  • Ms. Ada Hildegard Madleah Kettner (Vanuatu), Marine Science, UH Hilo.  Internship: Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD)
  • Ms. Pelenatete Leilua (Samoa), Business Administration, UH Hilo.  Internship: International Franchise Association (IFA)
  • Mr. Peter Psalm Ramofolo (Solomon Islands), Communication, UH Hilo.  Internship:  IFA
  • Mr. Deveraux Kolosefilo Palemia Talagi (Niue), Economics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  Internship: Osgood Center
  • Ms. Imelda Auxiliadora Da Conceicao Carlos (Timor-Leste), Geography, UH Hilo. Internship: IGSD
  • Mr. Agostinho Maia (Timor-Leste), Business Administration, UH Hilo.  Internship: U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Mr. Helio Miguel Arcanjo Oliveira De Araujo (Timor-Leste), Communication, UH Hilo.  Internship: Voice of America
  • Ms. Teresinha Santos Da Costa (Timor-Leste), Communication, UH Hilo.  Internship: Vital Voices

About the USSP and USTL Scholarship programs

The U.S.–Timor-Leste (USTL) and U.S.–South Pacific (USSP) Scholarship Programs provide higher education opportunities for academically talented individuals from Timor-Leste and the independent South Pacific island countries of Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  Scholarship recipients pursue bachelor’s or master’s degree study at the University of Hawai‘i in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of their nations.  These scholarship programs are also intended to provide participants opportunities to obtain a broader understanding of the United States.  USTL and USSP aim to develop a corps of leaders who will contribute to political, economic, and social progress in their home countries, and help strengthen their nations’ understanding of and relations with the United States.

Fields of Study:  Agricultural or environmental science, business, communications, economics, education, international relations, political science, psychology and sociology for Timor-Leste students, and the additional fields of study for South Pacific students of public administration, public health, STEM fields.(science, technology, engineering and mathematics), NGO management, gender studies and journalism.