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The U.S.–Pacific Institute for Rising Leaders Fellowship

At the first-ever U.S.–Pacific Island Country Summit in September 2022, the White House announced that the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will host a newly-created U.S.-Pacific Institute for Rising Leaders Fellowship annually.

In October 2023, the inaugural year of the Fellowship brought 29 mid-career leaders from Pacific Island countries and territories – up to two from each country/territory – to Johns Hopkins SAIS for a leadership development program. Read more here.

Students of the U.S. Pacific Rising Leaders

The inaugural cohort of the U.S.-Pacific Institute for Rising Leaders during their visit to The White House.

The second cohort of the Fellowship will be held in October 2024 for three weeks, and will focus on strengthening leadership, decision-making, and communications skills, as well as building Fellows’ understanding of contemporary international issues such as climate, development, public health, and maritime topics.

Fellows will have the opportunity to learn about U.S. approaches to these issues, as well as U.S. views on Oceania and the Indo-Pacific—through interactions with faculty, thought leaders in the public and private sector, and experts on U.S. engagement in the region. They will also discuss U.S. models and best practices in public management while building leadership capacity in areas such as citizen engagement and resource management.

The program will consist of classroom and extracurricular activities to help mid-career leaders develop these skills, drawing on faculty from SAIS and other divisions of the university, and experts from the policy community. During the first cohort, for example, Fellows had high-level engagements with experts from the U.S. Department of State, the National Security Council at The White House, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The Asia Society, U.S. Coast Guard, various think tanks, and an array of academic experts.

Participants should be high-achieving mid-career leaders from the public, private, or non-profit sectors. Suitable nominees will generally have at least seven years of relevant work experience, and will have demonstrated a track record of leadership. Participants must be proficient in spoken and written English.

Applicants from the following countries and territories are invited to apply: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Johns Hopkins SAIS will convene a distinguished selection panel that will choose up to two participants from each of the Pacific Island countries and territories. The panel will consult closely with government officials in the region, the Department of State, and other key experts and stakeholders.

Governments and other interested parties are encouraged to provide recommendations for candidates for this Fellowship. As the selection panel seeks to build a cohort that reflects the diversity of Pacific Island countries and territories, recommendations of outstanding female candidates or those from underrepresented communities are encouraged.

Applications are due by May 15, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and participants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by July 2024. 

Interested candidates must apply through the online application link: At least one letter of recommendation, a personal statement, and CV/resume along with the general application form is required to apply.

This fellowship is fully funded, and will cover participants’ roundtrip economy travel, lodging, travel medical insurance, food, visa fees, and program materials and activity expenses, to include a per diem to cover incidentals.

Student photos of U.S.-Pacific Rising Leaders

Fellows from the inaugural cohort of the U.S.-Pacific Institute for Rising Leaders during their time studying at the new Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center.

For general inquiries, contact Johns Hopkins SAIS at [email protected].