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Next Gen 

Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership Program

The Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership Program immerses the next generation of Hawaii’s leaders in the major political, economic, and security issues of the region.

Since 2013, the Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership (APAL) Program has provided university students and young professionals the opportunity to learn about Asia-Pacific affairs and think critically about Hawaii’s role in the region. Participants develop a local and international peer network that will serve them in the future. The program is supported by a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation.

APAL Scholars gain exclusive access to Pacific Forum’s international network of senior foreign policy experts, emerging next-generation scholars and practitioners, and local community leaders and professionals. Throughout the nine-month program, they are invited to Pacific Forum conferences and events in Honolulu that are normally reserved for experts, practitioners, and donors. They also undertake a guided research project, allowing them to explore Hawaii’s connection to the region and speak directly with stakeholders and decision-makers working on these issues. Additionally, APAL Scholars have the chance to attend a Pacific Forum conference in Asia.

Participants meet 1-2 times a month from October to June for roundtable discussions focused on key regional issues. These meetings usually occur weeknights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants may also be invited to optional breakfast briefings on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Additional opportunities such as volunteering, site visits, and partner events are also part of the APAL experience.


Individuals between 18-30 years of age are eligible to apply. This can include active or recently graduated students, service members, and young professionals. Those with limited experience in the field are welcome to apply. Applicants must be based on Oahu from October of the year the cohort begins through June of the following year.