Liu Lino Lafaele, a spring 2016 graduate of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), will spend eight weeks beginning in early June as an intern with Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman in Washington, DC. Lafaele was chosen for the internship by the International Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the civic awareness, public service, and economic effectiveness of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. The Foundation works to develop young leaders in the United States, Asia, and Pacific Rim countries in the fields of public service, entrepreneurship, and international business and politics through a network of business and community leaders.
From a nationwide pool of applicants consisting of sophomores, juniors or seniors in college, 30 are selected each year by the Foundation to undergo internships at federal agencies of the United States. “While doing my internship at Congresswoman Amata’s office in DC, I’ll also be enrolled in leadership and business training, and attend workshops, meetings and tours organized by the Foundation,” explained Lafaele. “In between the workshops, we’ll also hear testimonies from government officials and business people.”
Lafaele, 20, an Afono resident, is the son of Lino Lafaele from Afono and Futiga, and Faalele Agaiava Lafaele from Fagasa, Nuuuli and Falealili, Samoa. He attended Samoana High School, where he served as Student Body President, and upon entering ASCC he joined the recently-formed Criminal Justice Club and became its first president. Having graduated from ASCC this semester as a Criminal Justice major, upon completing his DC internship he will enter the University of Nevada Las Vegas to pursue a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy, concentrating in Law and Justice.
“My hope is that I will learn a great deal from this program about how a democratic government really functions,” said Lafaele of his upcoming internship. “I know the experience will better my understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen, because I believe that the real riches are the riches possessed inside.” Lafaele is currently President of the Afono Catholic Youth, a member of the Afono Catholic Choir, and serving as an untitled man with his village’s aumaga.
In addition to his studies at ASCC, over the past few years Lafaele has also maintained a side career as an anchorman and translator for South Seas Broadcasting, the parent company of local radio stations KHJ and V-103. Listeners to either station are likely already familiar with his voice. “Liu came to us on his own initiative, very eager to learn,” recalled Pam Berquist, South Seas Broadcasting Office Manager. “Since then he’s written ads and recorded public service announcements for KHJ. He’s been on V-103 as a DJ, where also translated the news into Samoan and recorded it for broadcast. We can always depend on him when he’s given a job to do, and we’re very excited about this young man’s future.”
Although still weighing his options on his long-term career goal, Lafaele expressed confidence that his experiences will guide him as he makes his future plans. “I can’t exactly say what my exact career will be,” he reflected, “but God has already planned one that has not been revealed yet. I just hope to become a person who my people can fully depend on and trust.”