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Nikolao Pula Delivers Keynote Address to the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) Graduating Class

Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs

Honolulu, Hawaii – September, 2009: Seventeen (17) participants from throughout the insular areas represent the inaugural graduation class of the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). ELDP graduation ceremonies were held on September 18, 2009, at the East-West Center Conference Facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, delivered the keynote address for the inaugural ELDP class. In his message, Mr. Pula emphasized to the graduates the importance of taking their newly acquired knowledge and truly applying it to their daily work when they return home. “To be a successful leader, you must grow your people and make them leaders too.”

Nikolao Pula with the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) Graduating Class

The ELDP is funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs and administered by the Graduate School's Pacific & Virgin Islands Training Initiatives (PITI-VITI).

The ELDP is designed to assist the insular areas with developing and retaining the qualified, skilled staff that will become the future leaders of their respective governments. Program participants met four times over the course of the past year to develop skills in leadership, management, government finance, procurement, and auditing. The ELDP serves the insular areas of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The ELDP was developed to support five major components:

  1. Formal training: ELDP participants met four times over a twelve month period for one week of training each time in Guam, Saipan, Pohnpei and Hawaii. The training focused on managerial and leadership skills, as well as technical training in areas such as auditing and accounting.

  2. Mentoring: During the first formal training session each participant completed a self–evaluation and identified one or two individuals within the government that he or she thought would be a good mentor throughout the 18 month program.

  3. Developmental assignments: Participants identified and described possible developmental assignments that focused on real-world issues in their organization, giving participants the opportunity to hone their technical skills and apply their learning in the selected project areas.

  4. Reading and group assignments: Participants were provided with books and reading assignments to be completed prior to the formal training sessions. Additionally, participants were asked to complete group assignments between cohort training sessions.

  5. Major project in home organization: ELDP participants defined and completed major group projects. The projects involved real issues within the participants' respective governments. An ELDP faculty was assigned to the groups to help guide the project design, implementation, and completion.

A list of ELDP graduates by insular area is attached below.

America Samoa:
Heidi Leasiolagi
Si'itia Lemusa
Carri-Lee Magalei

Michael Ada*
Richard Villagomez*
Anita Arile
Ken Borja
Michael Cabral
Marshall Islands:
Catalino Kijiner
James Myazoe

Hermana Idip
Inson Namper
Steven George*
Ann Noda

Bryan Dabugsiy
U.S. Virgin Islands:
Clarina Modeste
Denise Jeremiah
FSM National Gov:
Ivan Alafanso
Carl Apis
Juliet Jimmy
Ryan Edgar*

Note: * indicates graduation pending
The application process for the second ELDP class is currently scheduled to begin in March, 2010. Additional information on the program can be found online at