Former Miss Pacific Islands wins scholarship to US

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FORMER Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha is a winner of the prestigious United States South Pacific scholarship programme offered by the United States government under its bureau of education and cultural affairs.
Kariha, 20, will take up a four-year bachelor of arts degree majoring in political science at the University of Hawaii’s Hilo campus.
She will begin her studies in September.
“I am very grateful for this scholarship to study in Hawaii,” she said.
“It is humbling to be given this opportunity to continue my studies under a prestigious programme for Pacific islanders.
“It is a new chapter of my life which I am eager to begin.
“Education is very important to me.
“My intention is to develop myself academically, before I can return to contribute to national and regional development.”
Kariha noted that there was poor representation of women in political leadership in PNG and the Pacific and that motivated her to take up the degree programme.
“My interest lies particularly in diplomacy and international relations which comes under political science,” she said.
“I aim to better understand politics and guide more women into leadership roles.
“I am also a passionate youth advocate with Unicef PNG and I believe in the empowerment of today’s generation.”
Kariha thanked the US Embassy in Port Moresby, the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant Papua New Guinea, Unicef PNG, Marianville Catholic Secondary School, the Divine Word University and Madang community, her family and friends for supporting her in the scholarship endeavour.
Kariha encouraged young people to seek opportunities to continue their education.
“There are opportunities available for us to develop ourselves,” she said.
“We need to be determined to look for them.
“Work hard, support one another and lift each other up in your own circles of influence.
“To young women of PNG and the Pacific – you can do all you set your minds to doing.
“Challenge yourselves and strive for change.
“It is really important to believe in yourself and your ambitions.
“Everyone has the capability to bring about change.
“When God provides an opportunity, He will send the right people and resources to support you.
“Do your best and let God do the rest.”
Chairperson of the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG Committee, Molly O’Rourke, congratulated Kariha and wished her well in her studies.
“This is wonderful news as MPIP PNG will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year following the successful staging of the regional Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in PNG last year,” O’Rourke said.
The pageant was developed by the government of Samoa over 30 years ago to promote the numerous cultures of the Pacific Islands. .

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