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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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OIA Supports Island-Wide Youth Initiative



Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2012) - Director for the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), Nikolao Pula, announced a $550,000 grant to the Close Up Foundation, a civic education non-profit organization. Funding provides continued support for civic education programs that work with students, teachers and administrators from American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Students and teachers participating in the Close Up Washington Program will spend a week with their peers from around the United States meeting with federal officials, engaging in public policy workshops and simulations, current issues debates and visiting the monuments and institutions of our nation’s capital. The groups meet with their respective congressional and embassy representatives to discuss local impacts of federal policy. Teachers participate in a series of professional development seminars that provide training and materials to improve their civic education skills. Funding provides further support for Close Up education staff to travel to the islands to develop specialty training programs for island communities that teach students to identify, research, debate and develop public policy proposals that are later presented to local officials at a Youth Summit.

“Over the past 25 years, OIA has supported the Close Up Foundation for their invaluable role in developing civic education programs that provide our young islanders with a deeper understanding and appreciation of government and the role that each individual plays in our democratic system," said Pula.

“Close Up is unique in that it allows our young, future island leaders to engage and become active participants in meaningful dialogue that challenges the status quo while offering tangible solutions to very important public policy debates,” added Pula.

The Close Up Foundation has been administering civic education programs in the Pacific Islands through funding provided by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs for over twenty years.