Aspiring future Pacific Islands leaders talk about the future of their countries

As part of the World Bank’s flagship series of reports Pacific Possible, which focuses on the potential of the Pacific Islands, we reached out to some of the region’s aspiring leaders for their take on the future of their countries and the major challenges ahead.



Shazia Usman

Shazia Usman lives in Suva, Fiji. She’s an advocate for human rights, especially gender equality. She runs a small art business called the Feminist Black Sheep. Shazia is now part of the Advisory Committee in the Asia-Pacific region, the FRIDA: The Young Feminist Fund, and is also the incoming Coordinator for the Emerging Leaders’ Forum Alumni. Full profile


Asita Devi Deo

Asita Devi Deo lives in Suva, Fiji. She’s the co-founder and owner of Fastkil Pest Control Services. She has won numerous awards for her entrepreneurial skills, including Fiji’s Aspiring Woman of the Year in 2013. Asita is a role model for many young women in the Pacific Islands aiming to break into male-dominated industries. Full profile



Agnes Meredith

Agnes Meredith is a Veterinary Officer at the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. When she’s not trying to bring about new livestock opportunities for farmers, Agnes can be found at home tending to her vegetable garden. She wants to encourage farming at an early age and get children outdoors, away from video games and smartphones. Full profile



Arieta Talanoa

Arieta Talanoa is an Australian-born Fijian and Tongan. While Arieta was born in Australia, she has spent most of her life living between Australia and the Pacific. After finishing school, Arieta moved back to Fiji and found her calling: to provide a space for Pacific people to share their stories. This led her to found Talanoa, a digital platform for Pacific storytelling. Full profile



Ruha Fifita

Ruha Fifita is an internationally-recognized artist from Tonga. Her ngatu work was recently exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Ruha advocates for increasing youth voices and a continued link to indigenous culture, which she believes is one of the region’s greatest strengths. Full profile



Selina Neirok Leem

Selina Neirok Leem is from Majuro, Marshall Islands. Next year, Selina will be working at the United World Colleges Changshu China as an International Educator Intern. At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), Selina was among the global faces of climate change, representing her country as the Summit’s youngest delegate, and making a passionate plea to global leaders for stronger action on climate change. Full profile


Image Yota Pacifico Oue

Yota from the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and is recipient of Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship to study Economics and Environmental Studies at Fordham University in New York City. Full profile


Shiva Gounden

Shiva born in Navoli, a small village in Fiji, Shiva now works as a Multicultural Youth Coordinator and says anything humanity-related gets him out of bed in the morning. Full profile