Congratulations to this year’s alumni award recipients, who will be presented with their awards at the alumni conference in Seoul in August. The honorees are being recognized for their outstanding personal accomplishments and service toward the Center’s mission of helping to promote better relations and understanding among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and the United States.
Dear East-West Center Alumni:
Many participants have remarked that our recent 2016 EWC/EWCA International Conference in Manila, Philippines was one of the Center’s most informative and enjoyable alumni conferences to date! Close to 300 EWC alumni, friends and colleagues from 22 countries gathered at the historic Manila Hotel for the conference held on January 15-17 (view photo galleries and videos).
HONOLULU (Dec. 16, 2015) – The East-West Center has announced the names of EWC alumni, volunteers and alumni chapters that will be honored at the Center’s upcoming international alumni conference in Manila, Philippines Jan. 15-17, 2016. The honorees are being recognized for their outstanding personal accomplishments and service toward the Center’s mission of helping to promote better relations and understanding among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and the United States.
We’re pleased to announce a new EWCA award for outstanding service. The EWCA 21st Century Outstanding Service Award recognizes East-West Center participants whose initial involvement in a program was after the year 2000 and has provided outstanding service to the community.
Please remember that the deadline to submit nominations for this award, the Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Volunteer, and Outstanding Chapter Awards is September 30, 2015 so send your nominations in soon! Details for all awards can be found at http://www.eastwestcenter.org/alumni/ewca-honors-and-awards. Awards will be presented at the 2016 EWC/EWCA International Conference in Manila next January.
At the University of Hawaii’s recent spring commencement ceremonies, early EWC alumnus U Than Oo (ISI 1962-63) was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his pioneering education and literacy work in Myanmar. Now 88, he journeyed from Myanmar to Hawaii especially for the ceremony, where he was formally recognized for “the instrumental role he played in bringing about overall educational gains to the people of his country.”
“I am proud and delighted to receive this great honor and truly pleased to be at the University of Hawaii, which I regard as my alma mater, once again,” U Than Oo wrote in prepared words of thanks. “Vivid in my memory till today,” he wrote, were his days at the East-West Center while he pursued his master’s degree in education.
“To have this prestigious highest award is not my individual struggle or achievement, but the invaluable intellectual and professional contribution of my colleagues, in the form of their selfless motivation. … I sincerely wish to say that this award belongs to each and every one at the Myanmar Department of Education.”
EWC alumna Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a writer and performance artist from the Marshall Islands, was selected from more than 500 nominees to deliver a poem to world leaders on Sept. 23 at the opening of the UN Climate Summit in New York. Jetnil-Kijiner, who recently completed her EWC degree fellowship in Pacific Islands Studies, recited a new poem written for her daughter, “Dear Matafele Peinem.”
More than 300 EWC alumni, friends and colleagues from 28 countries gathered at the 2014 EWC/EWCA International Conference in Naha, Okinawa on Sept. 17-19, 2014.The conference program on the theme of “Developing a Peaceful and Sustainable Asia Pacific Community” featured more than 100 presenters involved in substantive panels and expert discussions on a range of key regional topics, as well as a special luncheon honoring EWC’s 2014 distinguished alumni and volunteers.
(View videos from the conference.)
“The very first EWC student to step off the boat in 1960, the late Abdul Zia … once observed that at the East-West Center there are no foreigners,” Center President Charles E. Morrison said in the conference’s keynote address. “I always found that very apt, both as a description of a reality and as an aspiration for how we want it always to be … we are one family, sharing a dream together as we navigate toward a destiny of a better region and better world.”
Congratulations to husband-and-wife EWC alumni team Tomohiro and Asuka Hirabe Hamakawa, who both recently received Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014 awards from His Holiness the Dalai Lama for their dedicated volunteer work.
At an event in San Francisco in February, the Dalai Lama personally recognized 51 individuals from around the world who help those in need without expectation of reward. Asia Pacific Leadership Program alum Tomo, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, helps raise funds for the preservation of Tibetan culture through documentary film and photography and is a staff member at Kopernik, an Indonesian nonprofit that brings simple, innovative technologies to rural areas. He also served four years as a full-time staff with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which subsidizes low-cost and high-impact interventions that save children’s lives.
Asuka, or “Aska,” a former EWC affiliate degree student in Pacific islands studies, has known since she was a teenager donating to UNICEF that she wanted to devote her life to helping those in need. In 2009, she assisted with relief and reconstruction for victims of an earthquake and tsunami in Samoa, and she helped head relief efforts in the fishing village of Ishinomaki after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Currently, she serves as vice president of Tuvalu Overview, a NGO that promotes research and awareness of climate change in the island nation of Tuvalu.
Fisher, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in geography at UH Manoa, received $1,000 from the Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowment, a collaborative effort of the university and EWC to support students who “represent Ann Dunham’s values and interests in nurturing understanding, engaging in community service, and promoting empathy to encourage global cooperation.”
“I very much look up to her as somebody that was deeply committed to Indonesia and admire her for her approach in conducting research, as well as her pragmatism in working with communities,” Fisher said of Dunham and her work. “These are all areas I hope to strive for in my studies and my work.”
Dunham, an anthropologist who studied village industries in Indonesia, received her doctorate degree at UH Manoa on East-West Center grants. Continue reading
Congratulations to Peter Nunan (ISI 66-68)!
The current Vice President of EWCA Brisbane Chapter has been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division for service to the community as a volunteer with maritime and geographical organizations.