Capacity Building


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.

Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program

The East-West Center's Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), in cooperation with the Professional Fellows Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, conducts the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program. Each year this program brings two cohorts of tourism industry professionals from the Pacific Islands to Honolulu, Hawai‘i for intensive six-week programs that build significant new capacity and facilitate enduring professional bonds between industry leaders in the United States and the Pacific Islands. Applications now being accepted for the Fall 2019 cohort.

Team-building exercise at the 2013 Future Leaders of the Pacific seminar in American Samoa

Young Pacific Leaders Program

In 2018, PIDP will conduct the Young Pacific Leaders Conference and small grants program. Funded by the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, the program consists of a comprehensive conference that will provide emerging Pacific leaders, ages 25-35, with new skills and knowledge to advance the region’s economic vibrancy and civic engagement, thereby contributing to regional security and development. A diverse and highly selective group of 26 young men and women from across the independent Pacific states, Australia and New Zealand and the United States will be chosen in close cooperation with U.S. diplomatic posts to participate in the conference, tentatively scheduled for 16-18 January 2018. In addition, six outstanding alumni of previous conferences will be invited to participate for a total of 32 Young Pacific Leaders. At the conclusion of the conference all participants will be eligible compete for small grants to be carried out through the life of the project, which will last until December 2018.

The program is based on four successful years conducting the Future Leaders of the Pacific program from 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.

Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan (PILP)

With support from PIDP, the East-West Center's Leadership Program runs PILP, which is a center of excellence for leadership development in the Pacific region.  The program links regional analysis of emerging issues in Oceania with experiential leadership learning and a commitment to practical action.  We call this interlocking process "Navigating Change" and believe the art of way-finding is a core leadership skill. The goal of PILP is to build a network of leaders dedicated to shaping the future prosperity of the Pacific region by taking informed, effective action.

North Pacific Women’s Action Program (NorPac)

With support from PIDP, the East-West Center's Leadership Program also runs the North Pacific Women’s Action Program which works with women to develop their ability to begin, support, and grow activities that address community needs and support community wellbeing. Through a four-day workshop, participants learn and practice approaches for informed effective action around important community issues. Ultimately, the program seeks to increase women’s participation in their communities and in local decision-making. This program is open to women living in Yap and Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia, Ebeye in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau who are active in their communities and interested in creating and supporting positive local initiatives.

U.S.-South Pacific Scholarship Program

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.