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November 15, 2016

Pacific-LEADS,1st Batch - Four TONGANS will participate -
Four Young TONGANS To Participate In The Master's Degree And Internship Program For Pacific Leaders Educational Assistance For Development Of State (Pacific-LEADS) By Government Of JAPAN

JICA Tonga Office
Alfred Vaka
Program Officer

Photo(From L-R front row; Mr. Vainga Palu-President for JICA Alumni, His Excellency Mr. Yukio Numata the Japan Ambassador, and Mr. Charles Kato) (From L-R second row; Mr. Shoichi Iwata-JICA Project Formulation Advisor, Ms. Simata Palu, Mr. Nikolasi Fonua, Ms. Melesungu Pule and JICA Resident Rep. Mr. Hiroshi Kikawa.

JICA has announced its official acceptance of four participants from Tonga to participate in the 1st Batch for the Pacific Leader's Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS Program) as part of Japan's commitment from the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) in May 2015.

The successful participants for the 1st batch are as follows;

  • Mr. Charles Kato – Livestock Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forestry & Fisheries
  • Mr. Nikolasi Fonua – Strategic Development Division, Tonga Power Limited
  • Ms. Melesungu Pule – Product & Destination Division, Ministry of Tourism
  • Ms. Simata-e-laa Palu – Policy Development Division, Ministry of Tourism

During an official function for welcoming the Pacific-LEADS Participants, His Excellency Mr. Numata briefly emphasized that the significant outcome of this educational program, will benefit both countries as well as promoting closer friendship between people of Tonga and the people of Japan.

The main objective of this Educational Program is to foster young leaders who are expected to play vital roles towards the resolution of development challenges in Pacific Islands Countries, not only that but their proposed research topics are anticipated to contribute to solve the development agendas of Pacific Island Countries such as Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change; the Environment; Sustainable Development, Oceans, Maritime issues, and Fisheries; Trade, Investment, Tourism; and the Economic Policy.

Pacific-LEADS Program will accept 100 participants from 14 Pacific Countries which is divided into 3 batches (2016, 2017, and 2018) for duration of 30 months.

These four students are expected to depart Tonga to Japan on 22nd August 2016, for their first Joint Program arranged by JICA Headquarter at Okinawa Islands, before they are dispatched to each respective University to commence their study program.

Mr. Hiroshi Kikawa (JICA Resident Representative) congratulated the Pacific-LEADS participants and added that during their interview, he has found these 4 young candidates to be very eager and enthusiasm about the future of Tonga, and their ability to become great leaders in near future. He also announced that the 2nd Batch for Pacific-LEADS, 2017 will commence soon, and he is also looking forward to receive more candidates who are highly motivated and talented as well has potential leaders in the future.

Comments from the 1st batch participants;

Mr. Charles Kato

Why did you choose the Pacific-LEADS program?

"This program gives me an opportunity to extend my skills and knowledge in the field of Animal Science study. I have been with the Livestock Division for more than 4 years and have come to recognize the importance of this field of livestock development which still requires better skills and advanced knowledge in order to improve our services and performances. I believe that after completion of this Master Course program, I will gain more confidence to drive and lead an effective development on livestock sector in Tonga".

Ms. Simata-e-laa Palu

What do you want to contribute from your experience after studying in Japan for the future of Tonga?

"It is my commitment to successfully complete my Master in International Development with the aim of returning and supporting the development and promotion of a sustainable and more inclusive tourism industry further enhancing the lives of the people of Tonga. This will contribute towards achieving related objectives of the Tonga National Development Framework and relevant targets under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

I'm also excited to learn what beautiful Japan has to offer and am grateful for the Government of Japan and leaders of the Pacific Islands who, under the Fukushima Declaration created the Pacific-LEADs program thus providing us with this opportunity and the Government of Tonga for its continuous support"

Mr. Nikolasi Fonua

What you expect in Japan?

First and foremost I expect to learn vital skills and knowledge specifically around leadership and management that will help with overcoming development challenges in Tonga. Japan is one of the nations that are at the forefront of renewable energy development particularly following the events of Fukushima. With many very successful businesses and organizations I know that I will learn very many great lessons. When I return to Tonga these skills will help with enhancing my capabilities within the organization I currently work and will also allow me to globalize and call all support from the great nation of Japan. I also expect to understand more about the Japanese culture, A culture that I believe has very many synergies to Tongan culture but is more developed and henceforth lessons can be learnt. I expect to see and experience many things that will help me understand how Tongans and Japanese can continue to have a very strong relationship.

Ms. Melesugnu Pule

What you want to study in Japan?

"Japan is a developed country compare to Tonga. It provide great opportunity to gain more experiences in Tourism especially hospitality which is related to Tourism. I found that Japan's culture is very unique and the way they greet their visitors and guest. Japan is also one of the leading countries that support ecotourism. I strongly believe my study and research in Japan will further enhance my knowledge and skills on Tourism from different perspectives. It's quite interesting and I'm keen to learn Japanese's language to assist the future tourist from Japan. And I'm also thankful for this great opportunity that the Government of Japan has provided for the Government of Tonga and for the Pacific-LEADS program as it aims to foster young leaders who play a vital role toward the resolution of development challenges in Pacific Islands Countries, as well as to further strengthen the relationships between Tonga and Japan"

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