2015 U.S.–Timor-Leste and U.S.–South Pacific interns visit the office of American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata

2015 U.S.–Timor-Leste and U.S.–South Pacific interns visit the office of American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata

Nine college students from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste who are studying in Hawaiʻi on East-West Center-administered scholarships are wrapping up six-week internships in Washington, D.C. designed to offer them professional experience and help expand their understanding of American society. The students are pursuing degrees at University of Hawaiʻi campuses under special scholarships funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the East-West Center.

The nine students were provided with a six-week internship during which they received a professional appointment in Washington, D.C. or environs, in an organization, company or government agency that is engaged in work related to their major field of study and career interests. During their internships, they also engaged in scheduled and informal cultural enrichment activities in order to expand their understanding of American society.

“The U.S.–South Pacific and U.S.–Timor-Leste scholarships hold a special place among the East-West Center’s educational offerings because of the unique island cultures that the participants come from,” said East-West Center Interim Director of Education Mary Hammond. “We’re pleased to have been able to offer these internships in Washington as part of the scholarships, which have given the students a wonderful opportunity to gain confidence and grow professionally, as well as to gain personal experience and insight into American life.”

The students and their internship sites are:

About the scholarship programs


The U.S.–Timor-Leste and U.S.–South Pacific Scholarship Programs provide higher education opportunities for academically talented individuals from Timor-Leste and the independent South Pacific island countries of Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Scholarship recipients pursue bachelor’s or master’s degree study at the University of Hawaiʻi in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of their nations.

These scholarship programs are also intended to provide participants opportunities to obtain a broader understanding of the United States. The program aims to develop a corps of leaders who will contribute to political, economic and social progress in their home countries, and help strengthen their nations’ understanding of and relations with the United States.

For photos of the interns and their Washington D.C. adventures, visit the East-West Center Flickr page.

—Adapted from an East-West Center news release and a UH Hilo Stories article

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