The conference will provide emerging Pacific leaders aged 25-35 with new skills and knowledge to advance the region’s economic vibrancy and civic engagement, thereby contributing to regional security and development.
Publicity for the meeting said a diverse and highly selective group of 26 young emerging leaders from across the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and the United States had been chosen to participate.
In addition, six outstanding alumni from previous conferences have been invited to participate, for a total of 32 Young Pacific Leaders out of several hundred entries.
At the end of the conference all participants will be eligible to compete for small grants to support projects in their countries and in the wider region.
Kokaua was selected after applying on Facebook, said that although he wasn’t necessarily expecting to be chosen, it was a great honour.
“I was pretty happy when I saw I was chosen. Especially seeing the people that are attending, so many people that are passionate about their country. When asked by the conference organisers what issue was most prevalent in the Cook Islands, Kokaua focused on depopulation.
“It is clear that depopulation of our islands is a crucial issue which has both economic and social impacts on the communities left behind as youth are lured away by the prospect of better wages and perceived better opportunities in other countries,” he said.
“I would love to increase the opportunities available for our youth, or simply highlight the opportunities which are already available, so that they do not feel they have to leave.”