1. What is the Hawaii APAL Program?
The Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership (APAL) Program is one of Pacific Forum’s next-generation leadership development efforts, and is the organization’s only program dedicated exclusively to Hawaii residents.
The program provides undergraduates, graduate students, and young professionals with the opportunity to learn about Asia-Pacific international affairs and think critically about Hawaii’s role in the region.
2. How is this program different from other Hawaii programs that focus on young people, leadership, and Asia-Pacific issues?
The Hawaii APAL Program is the only foreign policy-focused program run by a think tank that focuses specifically on young (18 to 30 years old) Hawaii residents. The nine-month curriculum has a very specific, practical focus on US policy in the Asia Pacific, as well as international security relations. Unlike other, equally valuable programs, we do not focus on international travel or cultural exchange.
3. Who is eligible for the program?
Undergraduate students, graduate students with limited experience in the field, and young professionals are welcome to apply for the program. Applicants must be based on Oahu from September of the year the cohort begins through May of the following year.
4. When do you accept applications?
We accept applications in the preceding spring and summer for the cohort that begins in fall. An application form can be found here.
5. What are you looking for in applicants?
We are seeking bright, motivated students and young professionals from a broad range of backgrounds. A strong interest in international affairs, demonstrated community service, and great teamwork attitude is preferred.
6. How many people will be accepted to the program?
We accept 10-12 people per program cycle.
7. I have no background in political science, international relations, or foreign policy. Am I still eligible?
Yes, the program is open to those from all backgrounds. In our first cohort, we accepted 11 participants who were pursuing careers in law, medicine, theology, economic development, and other fields. Please note that Pacific Forum’s area of focus is foreign policy and security studies, so much of the material will be from these perspectives.
8. After I complete the program, am I automatically guaranteed acceptance into the Young Leaders Program?
No, successful completion of the Hawaii APAL Program does not guarantee admission into the Young Leaders Program. Participants must still complete an application to be accepted. However, APAL program graduates do receive special consideration.
9. Will I have the opportunity to travel to Pacific Forum’s international conferences and dialogues as part of this program?
Thanks to a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation, program participants may apply for a travel stipend to attend a Pacific Forum conference overseas.
10. What kinds of activities do participants engage in?
Over the nine-month program cycle, participants are expected to attend 1-2 required meetings per month that discuss key Asia-Pacific regional issues. We also try to incorporate subject matters that are of particular interest to the participants' academic and career goals.
Outside of the required monthly meetings, participants have the added opportunity to attend various Pacific Forum events, including senior-level breakfast briefings, exclusive roundtables, the annual Board of Governors' dinner, and more. Throughout these activities, participants hear from internationally-recognized foreign policy experts and are able to network and explore different career industries.
Participants may also go on several group field trips. For example, the 2015-16 cohort visited the National Security Agency facility in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
11. What is the time commitment?
Participants can expect to dedicate between four to 10 hours per month. To accommodate the schedules of everyone, meetings are typically held on weeknights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Extra opportunities are available to those whose schedules permit.
Program participants are expected to complete a research project at the conclusion of the program.
12. I am not based on Oahu, Hawaii. Can I still participate?
No, the Hawaii focus of this program requires that participants be currently based on Oahu.
13. What about neighbor island participants?
At this time, neighbor island applicants are unable to participate due to the requirement to attend monthly meetings on Oahu. Pacific Forum is researching funding opportunities to include neighbor-island participants in future cohorts of this program.
14. Is there a cost to participate?
The program is generously supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation.