Three to Attend Future Leaders of the Pacific Conference in Hawaii (August 30, 2016)

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby congratulates Naomi Bakaka and Oliver Nobetau from Papua New Guinea and Mele O’Brien from Solomon Islands for being selected to participate in the East-West Center’s “Future Leaders of the Pacific 2016” conference that will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii September 1-5.

Naomi Bakaka and Oliver Nobetau are at the University of Papua New Guinea studying Accounting and Law respectively. Mele O’Brien works with Capital Insurance Limited in the Solomon Islands as the Underwriter and Relationship Manager.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Conservation and Leadership.” The conference will connect participants with diaspora communities in Hawaii as well as introduce them to U.S. federal, academic, and non-profit organizations such as the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH), the Center for Preserving Indigenous Agriculture, and a range of departments within the University of Hawaii, among others. These experiential learning opportunities and visits to federal institutions, non-profits, universities, and community groups are designed to give young Pacific leaders first-hand insights into the ways Hawaii, as a Pacific island, is working to address these issues. Sub- themes will include protecting our oceans and combating climate change, women’s empowerment, and education. Alumni from the past three conferences will be actively involved in the planning process, implementation, and promotion of the young leaders’ network.

The conference will take place at the same time as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Congress 2016 and the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders (PICL), both in Honolulu, so these young leaders will have opportunities to participate in aspects of both events. Local Native Hawaiian youth will also participate and there will be ample opportunities to connect and share aspects of indigenous cultural heritage.