News Release

East-West Center Honolulu, Hawaii

June 23, 2009

HONOLULU, Hawaii – More than 20 graduates of an East-West Center-administered scholarship program for accomplished young scholars from Pacific island nations are back in Hawai‘i this week to attend a special seminar on addressing issues and envisioning futures in the region.

The former students are all graduates of the United States-South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP), which is funded by Department of State and administered by the East-West Center. Among the attendees are graduates who are now working in public health, communications, finance, planning, education, government, scientific research and more. Participants have travelled from as far away as the UK, Norway and across the Pacific to attend the seminar.

"This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to host a gathering of USSP alumni," said Gene Vricella, who coordinates the scholarship program. "It’s a wonderful opportunity for these emerging Pacific leaders and professionals, who have now gained more ‘real-world’ experience since graduating, to reflect on the issues of their unique region and envision impacting the future of their communities."

Part of the seminar exercise will involve the graduates working to envision future scenarios for Oceania in the year 2030, when many of the attendees are likely to have assumed positions of responsibility and influence.

The United States-South Pacific Scholarship Program is authorized by the U.S. Congress and funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more information on the program, visit:

The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.

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