Promoting Inclusion and Rights for Disabled Athletes Through Sports
Young Pacific Island Athletes and Their Coaches Pose for a Photo Outside the U.S. Capitol

Did you know that contrary to popular belief, sign language is not universal? Although the exact number of sign languages around the world is still unknown, 19 deaf track and field athletes communicated through a universal language that they all could understand last week: sports.

I was lucky enough to meet these energetic, young athletes and their six coaches from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands who were here in the United States participating in a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Sports Visitors program.  

TechCamp Empowers Young People in the Pacific Islands

Youth participants from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands meet in Suva, Fiji, for the first Youth TechCamp in the Pacific, November 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Frankie A. Reed serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.

"Youth what? Why would you sponsor a TechCamp in the Pacific region, where Internet connectivity is not widespread?"

That’s the question many of my colleagues asked me when I told them the State Department, in collaboration with PasifikaNEXUS and BrightPath, was going to launch “Youth TechCamp Fiji.” And, my answer to them was, that’s exactly the reason it should be done. The Department of State, along with our partners, recognized the value in enabling future leaders of the Pacific Islands to contribute to policy development, spur local content creation, and leverage connection technologies to make a positive impact in their communities and around the world.

From November 21-28, approximately 80 youth participants from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands met in Suva, Fiji, for the first Youth TechCamp in… more »