Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program
The East-West Center's Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), in cooperation with the Professional Fellows Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, conducts the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program. Every year this program brings two cohorts of tourism industry professionals from the Pacific Islands to Honolulu, Hawai‘i for intensive six-week programs that build significant new capacity and facilitate enduring professional bonds between industry leaders in the United States and the Pacific Islands.
Professional Fellows chosen through an open competition will arrive with ideas for an applied project or business problem that bears directly on tourism growth in their home country. Rigorously curated placements, with a close pairing of each Fellow’s project objectives to the Designated Placement Host, will offer Professional Fellows fresh insights, new analytical perspectives, and practical approaches for building nascent island tourism sectors. Supplemental educational and cultural enrichment activities will ensure Fellows acquire substantive leadership skills as well as a deeper appreciation of American society. A smaller number of select U.S.-based fellows will work directly with their counterparts from the Pacific Islands to develop their projects and will participate in a 2-week follow-up trip to their partners' home countries.
The Center works in close cooperation with the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on this program and welcomes the involvement of its partner institutions including the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the various placements hosts in Hawai‘i.
64 Fellows from Pacific Islands in 2018-19
10 From the United States
Applicants must be citizens/nationals of one of the eligible countries; be between the ages of 25-40; be currently employed in their home country (or another eligible country) and have a demonstrated history of at least 2 years of employment in the tourism industry; be willing and able to obtain a J-1 visa and spend 6-weeks in the United States; is committed to returning to their home country after the program; have a track record of making an impact in their organziation, company, or community; be capable of creating an action-orientated plan to address a specific business problem or policy challenge being faced in their country; and have sufficient spoken and written English language proficiency to effectively function in an American workplace.
Applications will be accepted from the following Pacific Islands countries:
An appropriate tourism development strategy can increase foreign exchange levels and job opportunities, alleviate poverty, ensure that women and minorities benefit from the activities of the tourism sector, and help improve a country’s image.
What is a tourism professional?
Recognizing that there are many different types of professionals working in various capacities at a wide-range of occupations, the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows Program employs a very broad definition of 'tourism.' As so many different types of government agencies, private-sector businesses, and civil society groups can impact tourism development in the smaller economies targetted by the program, it would be difficult to fully describe what is or isn't a 'tourism professional.' What is most important is that the applicant be committed to tourism as a means to economically empower people and communities in their home country and and be actively working toward that end.
As such the program will accept applications from people employed in occupations as diverse as tourism operators; public or private sector tourism promotion agencies; restaurant operators; handicraft manufacturers/marketers/associations; owners/operators of small businesses dependent upon tourism; cultural promotion agencies and practitioners; sports tourism promoters; development financing specialists and developers; conservation area/park managers; and NGOs with a tourism and/or sustainable economic development focus.
The Professional Fellows Program
The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is a two-way, global exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, as well as build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States. PFP participants are placed in intensive 5-6 week fellowships which includes an internship in non-profit organizations, private sector businesses, and government offices across the United States for an individually tailored professional development experience. They build a broad network with American and other program participant colleagues as they develop a deeper understanding of U.S. society. The PFP is a two-way exchange, with American participants who have hosted foreign fellows traveling overseas for participant-driven reciprocal programs.