“Capacity building and regional networking opportunities are invaluable to professional growth and development and must be supported by regional agencies as the Pacific tries to recover from the severe impacts of COVID-19”.
These were the sentiments shared by Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) Chief Executive Christopher Cocker, when he signed a partnership agreement between SPTO and the East-West Center (EWC) in Hawaii.
Under the agreement, SPTO will help EWC promote the Professional Fellows Program Opportunity for Young Economic Empowerment Leaders. The Professional Fellows Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the East-West Center. As with previous arrangements between the organisations SPTO will also assist in reviewing and providing recommendations on applicants for the programme. Moreover, a representative from SPTO will also conduct a presentation during orientation week for each of the programme’s three cohorts, beginning in February 2023.
Director of the East-West Center’s Professional Development Program Niruban Balachandran mentioned that working with regional partners like SPTO ensured that the programme addresses the needs of the region, and attracts top-notch participants who can return home after the program and make positive changes in their communities.
“The East-West Center is pleased to once again partner with SPTO to implement this exciting professional development opportunity for young leaders in the Pacific Islands,” said Mr Balachandran.
In acknowledging the importance of SPTO’s support of the programme, Mr. Cocker noted that these opportunities encourage young professionals in the Pacific to upskill and remain engaged in the region.
“As we begin to reopen our borders and plan our recovery from the pandemic, collaboration and capacity building are more important than ever. Through the Professional Fellows Program run by EWC, SPTO is privileged to support the positive career trajectory of young people from the Pacific”.
“SPTO recognizes that through enduring professional networking, programs like this can also be a positive influence for young professionals to remain in our region, which is exactly what we need”, said Mr. Cocker”
Current plans are for the first cohort of Fellows to be in the United States from February 12-March 18, 2023.