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Young Pacific Leaders (YPL)

About YPL

Launched in 2013, the Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) program is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in the Pacific. Through a variety of programs and engagements including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YPL seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and strengthen ties between the United States and the Pacific.YPL focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, economic and social development.

Young Pacific Leaders. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Why YPL?

Many people in the Pacific region are under the age of 35. YPL is an effort to harness the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities. 

Who is YPL?

The YPL community consists of young leaders 20-35 years old from Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Hawaii.

Calling Young Pacific Leaders with a Vision

Young people in the Pacific are working to make tomorrow a brighter day, and the United States is here to help. We want to hear from you! What resources do young leaders need to tackle environmental issues, educate your generation, increase prosperity, and work for the good of your community?

Share your ideas. Sign up today-hyperlink to sign up- to be part of the YPL community. Join thousands of your peers on the YPL Facebook page and Instagram.

Conference & Workshops

What is the Annual Conference?

The Annual Conference rotates around the Pacific Region. They foster connections between new YPL delegates and past alumni to further develop regional work of young leaders, provide knowledge, skills, and space for collaboration in addressing challenges related to all four YPL themes of education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development. Past conferences have happened in Hawaii, American Samoa, New Zealand, Samoa, and Fiji.

Young Pacific Leaders. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

What are Regional Workshops?

Professional development is offered to young leaders who want to make an even bigger impact in their communities. YPL Regional Workshops provide networking, mentoring, hands-on training, and the tools necessary to lead communities in addressing economic, environmental, educational, and civic engagement issues. By visiting one of the Pacific countries, young leaders develop an appreciation for the similarities and differences of each other’s culture.

How do I participate?

Opportunities to apply for conferences and regional workshops are advertised throughout the year. Participants are selected by the U.S. Embassy in the participant’s home country. Join YPL-hyperlink to registration- to get updates on upcoming YPL conferences and regional workshops.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

YPL in Cybersecurity Program (Virtual)

Virtual, Australia, March-May 2021

YPL Cybersecurity regional workshop will bring together students and young professionals from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and other Pacific nations on the YPL pillar of civic engagement. Through the workshop, the participants will deepen their understanding of cybersecurity policy, cultivate relationships between future policy leaders, and generate recommendations for collaboration on cybersecurity and cyber workforce development.

YPL Annual Conference (Virtual)

Virtual, Papua New Guinea, May 7-9, 2021

YPL Annual Conference will bring together 50 young leaders from throughout the Pacific region on the YPL pillars of education, environment and resource management, civic engagement, and social and economic development. Through the conference, participants will develop new connections, advance leadership and advocacy skills, and provide participants opportunities to work together to solve regional and global challenges through community service and small grants projects.

Grants Competition

What is it?

YPL small grants competition is an opportunity for alumni of YPL programs. The competition provides funding for the Pacific region’s most promising young leaders to carry out projects that improve their communities, countries, and the region. Projects cover one of the four YPL themes: Education, Environment and Resource Management, Civic Engagement, and Social and Economic Development.

Young Pacific Leaders. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

How do I participate?

Opportunities to apply for small grants are advertised throughout the year. Join YPL-hyperlink to registration- to get updates on upcoming YPL small grants opportunities.

2021 YPL Small Grants Competition

The 2021 YPL Small Grants Competition is not yet open.

2019 Grant Recipients

Read the announcement here.

U.S. Exchanges

What is it?

Where funding is available and logistics are possible, YPL offers exchange programs to the United States. This offers the opportunity to participate in intensive professional programs at workplaces across the United States.

Young Pacific Leaders. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Upon completion, alumni will be supported in implementing their leadership vision and plans through grant competitions, a network of contacts working on similar issues, online resources, and ongoing engagement with the U.S. Embassy in their country. Participants will become a part of the International Exchange Alumni community, which offers an online forum, allowing them to remain in close contact and share the ways they are making a difference in their countries and their region.

How do I participate?

Opportunities to apply for U.S. exchanges are advertised throughout the year. Participants are selected by the U.S. Embassy in the participant’s home country. Join YPL-hyperlink to registration- to get updates on upcoming YPL exchanges.

YPL Community Service

What is it?

YPL Project “LEADS” stands for Lead + Engage + Advocate + Drive Change + Serve. Project LEADS is an annual community service initiative that celebrates the power of YPL to positively transform their communities across the Pacific through ingenuity and developing solutions to local, national and regional challenges.

Young Pacific Leaders. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

This year in 2021  we are asking you to participate and celebrate YPL through community service throughout the month of June.

These acts of volunteerism will benefit not only you but those around you. By giving goods, services, and time at no cost to those around you, you are strengthening your community and empowering yourself as a leader. Whether you are cleaning up a beach or painting a school, running a virtual program, you can make a difference. No act is too small.

How do I participate in YPL Project LEADS?

There are two ways to participate: you can volunteer at an event near you or you can organize your own.