Established in 1994, the U.S. South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP) provides students from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu with opportunities for Master’s and Bachelor’s degree study at the University of Hawaiʻi. The USSP is administered by the East-West Center on behalf of its funder, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Since the USSP’s inception, 90 participants have completed their studies and returned to their home countries. Another eight are currently pursuing degrees.
Participants pursue studies in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of Pacific island countries. These include agriculture, business, communications/journalism, education, environmental studies, gender studies, management of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), political science, public administration, public health, and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Scholarships include a mentoring component and opportunities for participation in host-family and volunteer-service programs.
Jennifer Kalpokas Doan, a past USSP participant, was recently appointed to the Board of Bank South Pacific (Vanuata) Limited (BSP). Mrs. Doan is the first woman and independent Ni-Vanuatu to be appointed to the BSP Board. She served as a Senior Program Manager for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Vanuatu before taking the position of team leader for the Balance of Power Program in Port Vila. Mrs. Doan graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations.
William Constantine Lokei Sirabis is studying for a Master’s degree in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa the USSP program, His thesis research examines the effects of varying soil moisture levels on soil nitrogen dynamics and how these interactions affect the growth and development of sweet potatoes, an important food crop in the highlands of his home country, Papua New Guinea.