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David Heubner reports on Future Leaders conference

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting our inaugural Future Leaders of the Pacific Conference in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Conceived here at the Embassy as a youth version of the annual Pacific Islands Forum of heads of government, the conference came to life in partnership with our friends at the East-West Center and the Government of American Samoa.Working with our sister American Embassies in the region, we identified and brought together twenty-two young leaders ranging in age from 21 to 26 from the 16 Pacific Islands Forum member nations plus American Samoa. On the agenda for discussion were a wide variety of important regional and global regional issues such as women’s empowerment, democracy and governance, climate change, sea bed mining, and non-communicable diseases.The delegates were Eugene Amor (Federated States of Micronesia), Toai Bartley (Samoa), Luana Bosanquet-Heays (Cook Islands), Berrick Dowiyogo (Nauru), Mua Galea’i (American Samoa), Tarema Henry (Kiribati), Aldric Hipa (Niue), Joe Iosua (American Samoa), Hiku Jackson (New Zealand), Tina Kivalu (Tonga), Karl Laulu (Samoa), Vitalina Niroa (Vanuatu), Mele O’Brien (Solomon Islands), Grace Pace (American Samoa), Theresa Penn (Samoa), Shon Satele (American Samoa), Isabela Silk (Marshall Islands), Jone Tamanikaimoturiki (Fiji), Kasipo Teo (Fiji), Jewel Vaka (American Samoa), Naomi Woyengu (Papua New Guinea) and Demei Yobech (Palau). Our Australian delegate was unable to attend because of a family emergency.