Youth Leadership Program – Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu

High School Students and STEAM Educators invited to apply

  • Are you interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) ?  
  • Would you like to design solutions to environmental issues? 
  • Have you dreamed of being an environmental engineer, community planner and influencer able to build a more sustainable future in your country?
Planting seedlings in Indonesian greenhouse

The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) with Fiji, Tonga, and Tuvalu is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and administered by Legacy International.   The program is five months in length including a  three-week virtual exchange program from August 16-September 5, followed by four months of community action plans.  Twenty – two high school students and three adult educators from the three countries will be selected to participate and gain valuable training in community leadership and environmental sustainability.

What is a virtual exchange program?  This component of the program includes a 9-day segment when students and teachers from their island gather at an American Space for classes taught virtually by US instructors.  Computers and internet are provided for the joint synchronous sessions but a computer or smart phone will be required for some asynchronous activities. In between the synchronous sessions, students will work on their own or with their fellow participants to plan environmental projects.  These asynchronous assignments must be completed before the next synchronous session in order to be successful.

During this program, you will:

  1. Explore how STEAM knowledge is applied to building climate resiliency.
  2. Explore STEAM careers and develop educational and career pathways.
  3. Develop leadership and peer education skills
  4. Focus on building innovative sustainability engineering solutions. You will be able to:
    • Describe viable, sustainable solutions to local environmental issues;
    • Use the design thinking process to plan and deliver a sustainability solution to an issue you are passionate about (i.e., Climate Crisis, Resource Depletion, Waste Removal, Pollution, Overfishing, Overhunting, Deforestation, Mass Extinction of Species, Loss of Biodiversity, etc.);
    • Work in a team to deliver a community awareness project on a selected sustainability issue.

Program Structure: A 5-month long commitment

Week One: Monday, August 16 to Saturday, August 21: Participants gather daily for a week-long immersion at an American Space location in their country.  Virtual teachers from the USA teach them “live” from across the globe using the latest on-line virtual classroom techniques. Youth participants will make friends with U.S. teens who are STEAM leaders and learn about career opportunities in their respective countries.

 Week Two: Sunday, August 22 to Saturday, August 28:  Participants accomplish 4 – 5 hours of asynchronous work and continue to study the issue they have identified and possible solutions.  Friday, August 27 and Saturday, August 28 youth gather for a group meeting at a central location for synchronous sessions.

Week Three:  Sunday, August 29 to Saturday, September 4:  Participants work asynchronously to refine community projects and prepare for showcase event.  In addition to project presentations, country groups must work together to share highlights of the program and lessons learned. Culmination: Friday, September 3: Rehearsals. Saturday, September 4: Virtual Showcase event featuring youth presentations, recognition awards, and remarks from U.S. Department of State Officials.

Between September and December 2021– Participants complete a community-based project implementing their solution and helping peers become environmental change makers.  There will be monthly Zoom calls with the whole group. Certificates will be awarded at completion of program.

How to apply

Student applicants must:
  1. Be between 15 and 18 years old by August 1, 2021;  
  2. Be a citizen or resident living in Fiji, Tonga or Tuvalu (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship are ineligible);
  3. Have proficiency in English;
  4. Demonstrate good academic performance, leadership potential, an interest in and commitment to address environmental issues;
  5. Demonstrate initiative, good communication, and an energetic, positive attitude;
  6. Have the ability to work cooperatively in a team and appreciate the opinions of others;
  7. Have permission from parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to participate in the program.
Adult Educator Profile:

One STEAM educator from each of the participating countries will be selected. The candidate will gain new skills in youth leadership development, environmental engineering and learning techniques to combine in-person-classroom learning with virtual instruction. He/she will guide young leaders through a 5-month experience culminating in the implementation of community-based projects.  Adult Educators will be trained to facilitate and assist youths as they complete assignments given by US instructors.  These may be computer based or hands-on STEAM lab projects.  Educators will coordinate logistical arrangements for the group instruction days (transportation, lunches, and meeting space set up.)  You will escort teens on site visits and welcome any guest presenters.  Your feedback to the Legacy team on how lessons are being received or any technical challenges will help the program be successful.  During the community-based project phase the Adult Educator will mentor specific individual and student pairings.

Adult Selection Criteria: in addition to fulfilling the items 2 through 6 listed above under youth criteria, the adult applicants must be: 

  • Minimum age of 25 years
  • Experience working with teenagers and have demonstrated strong leadership skills
  • Experience teaching STEAM
  • Experience with technology i.e. Zoom, learning management systems (a plus)

Is there a cost?  There is no application fee.  The United States Government will pay for all costs to participate in the program, including travel to and from the classroom sites, lunches each day we are together, and other incidentals.

Applications open February 11 and close at noon (EST)  March 11, 2021

Semifinalists will be selected for interviews and final notifications made in April.