WDLP participants complete first leadership intensive

Sunday, February 26, 2023
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[Pictured: 2023 WDLP participants with (from left to right) Adimaimalaga Tafunaʻi, Australian Treasurer the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers, Nanette Tutua, Teretia Tokam, Australian Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese, Australian Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Richard Marles, Minister for Water and the Environment the Hon Tanya Plibersek, and Member of Parliament Papua New Guinea Kessy Sawang.]

Twenty nine Australia Awards scholars from the Pacific Islands have completed their first week-long leadership intensive through the Women’s Developmental Leadership Program (WDLP).

From 11 to 17 February 2023, the emerging leaders came together in the Australian Capital Territory to take part in a range of activities in Canberra and Tharwa, exploring concepts and resources designed to test and expand their leadership limits.

In this first step of their WDLP journey, participants had the opportunity to meet each other, other leaders, experts, and the WLI team, and toured Australian Parliament House.

Here, they met Australian and Pacific Members of Parliament and Ambassadors, including Australian Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific the Hon Pat Conroy.

[Pictured: WDLP participants with Australian Minister for Youth the Hon Anne Aly and Minister for International Development and the Pacific the Hon Pat Conroy]

[Pictured: WLI participants in Parliament House]

Outdoor team building at Outward Bound Australia

Part of the experience saw participants camping and taking part in team building activities in Tharwa, ACT with Outward Bound Australia. According to Fijian participant and policy analyst, Melissa Kwan, her time at Outward Bound reminded her that, “every experience is a lesson”.

Here, participants would also meet Australian Ambassador for Gender Equality Ms Stephanie Copus Campbell and learn more about her work.

[Pictured: WDLP participants camping in Tharwa with Outward Bound]

Next steps for WDLP participants

During this first of two leadership intensives in which WDLP participants take part, each attendee was supported to clarify a ‘real world’ development issue or topic they hope to positively impact and influence on their return home.

Over the next 18 months of their time on the WDLP, they will revisit and support these development leadership goals and increase their readiness and networks to step into leadership roles in their community, workplace or country.

[Pictured: WDLP participants enjoying their celebration dinner in Canberra]


After their intensive 18 months on WDLP, participants and alumni stay part of the WLI network and are supported to build skills, networks and take on leadership for positive development in the Pacific.

Professional development opportunities, leadership coaching, and access to dedicated counselling continue to be available to alumni when they return home. WLI Alumni Representatives and alumni events in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa are currently being rolled out through the program.

Alumni of WLI leadership programs (including WDLP, Leadership& Mentoring and LeadershipConnect programs) network, attend events, and have a chance to access leadership funding.