Two CNMI residents were selected to join 200 hand-picked leaders from a total of 33 nations and territories in the region to participate in the inaugural cohort for a new program under the Obama Foundation Leaders.
Rep. Sheila J. Babauta (Ind-Saipan) and Samantha Birmingham-Babauta were both selected to participate in the first cohort for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Dec. 10, 2019, to Dec. 14, 2019.
Of the 200 participants, 10 are from Micronesia: Four from Guam, two from the CNMI, one each for Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, and two for the Republic of Marshall Islands.
According to its website, the program is a one-year leadership development and community engagement program that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region.
Birmingham-Babauta is an advocate for health in the Pacific, where she works to promote physical activity as a low-cost intervention, especially for non-communicable diseases, in the community. Birmingham-Babauta interned with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention after graduating from California State University in Northridge with a degree in Kinesiology.
Babauta, on the other hand, is a member at the 21st Legislature, representing Precinct IV in the House of Representatives. She graduated high school through the CNMI Public School System before heading to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she got her finance and international business degree.
According to a statement from her office, the five-day meet-up in December will consist of skill-building workshops, leadership development training, and opportunities for participants to connect with one another in tackling real-world scenarios while using creative approaches to problem-solving. Additionally, participants will take part in a community service project.
Those interested in tuning in for the sessions can catch the livestream obama.org.
Participants will continue to be with the program remotely for a year, through webinars and a virtual speaker series, as well as support, amplification, and other opportunities from the Obama Foundation.
“The Asia-Pacific program follows the Obama Foundation’s inaugural international Leaders program launched in Africa in 2018” the statement from Babauta’s office noted.