US ambassador Frankie Reed has officially launched the Leadership Fiji program for this year.
Over the past 12 years, more than 250 participants have graduated from the program.
The main mission of the program is to develop and enhance the quality of future Fiji leaders through skills development and building relationship, characterised by respect, trust and understanding among individual leaders representing diverse elements which make up the Fiji community.
The program aims to empower emerging leaders with a greater understanding of community issues, encourage emerging leaders to influence public and private institutions through informed debate and facilitate communication through engagement between emerging leaders.
Leadership Fiji chairman William Parkinson said the leadership group for this year would learn a lot about directing and managing change.
He also encouraged members to go out and to help people in the community through what they have learned.
"This year we start with 28 participants which is a large number," he said.
"We have seen every year that the number of applicants for Leadership Fiji grows and selection is always difficult.
"For this year we have about 50 candidates."