In two weeks, 200 emerging leaders from 33 nations and territories across the Asia-Pacific region will gather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to begin their journey in the Obama Foundation Leaders Asia-Pacific program.
Rongo, from local non-government organisation Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau, has been selected as one of these leaders with a chance to meet the former President of the United States Barack Obama.
Over the course of five days, Barrack and Michelle Obama, as well as other prominent speakers and thought leaders, will join them for discussions around opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region and values-based leadership.
Rongo said she was so humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of the programme and the possibility of meeting some of the world’s greatest influencers.
They will participate in skill-building workshops, leadership development training, and a community service project, among other activities.
Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau have been running several programmes with the support of various donors and the local community, notably the ‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango school holiday programme for junior and senior students that focuses on connecting them to their environment and natural resources through traditional practices and culture-based learning.
Their mission statement – Kia mātūtū te tūranga o te `iti tangata Kūki `Airani e to tātou ao nātura – means to improve the well-being of the indigenous people of the Cook Islands and our environment.
Rongo has also been involved with different projects with sporting organisations in the Cook Islands, running the Bluesky Rising Stars Championship for netball and rugby with her husband Dr Teina Rongo and supportive committee members and business community.
One major underlying concept of the different activities the Rongos have been involved with is the desire to build a resilient and healthy Cook Islands people, who value their environment and natural resources.