Student Forum: Pacific Islanders & Mauna Kea / TMT

 Events, Recent Stories, Speaker Series  Comments Off on Student Forum: Pacific Islanders & Mauna Kea / TMT
Apr 292015

MAUNAKEAThe Pacific Islander Student Center and The Advising Center at UH Hilo are co-sponsoring a special forum for Pacific Islander students focusing on the Mauna Kea / TMT controversy. Facilitated by Kurt Dela Cruz from The Advising Center, the discussion will be set within the larger context of the Pacific Island region indigenous struggles, educational pursuits, progress / culture dynamics, and other topics of interest to Pacific Islander students at UH Hilo. All invited to join us. Registration is highly recommended.

What: Pacific Islanders & Mauna Kea / TMT
When: Monday, May 4, 2015
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Where: UH Hilo, Campus Center 307

For more information, please contact Vid Raatior (, 808-932-7795), Director of the Pacific Islander Student Center.

Register Today



Francis X. Hezel, SJ to Speak at UH Hilo

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Mar 052014

Francis X. Hezel, SJ – Jesuit author, educator, consultant, and expert on Micronesian history will visit the Big Island as a guest of the East West Center at UH Manoa and the Pacific Islander Student Center at UH Hilo. He will give two public lectures on campus and meet with the Micronesian diaspora.

Making Sense Micronesia_BookCoverLecture 1: “Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture” 

Recommended for service providers, teachers, social workers, health-care providers, faculty, staff, students. This talk is co-sponsored by the Micronesians United – Big Island (MU-BI) organization.

Abstract: Who are these Micronesians in Hawaii? Why are they here? Why do Micronesian women and youth seem so silent? Why do these people, unfailingly polite for the most part, laugh openly when others embarrass themselves? What does a smile mean to an islander? What might a sudden lapse into silence signify? Why are they so lavishly generous with food and material possessions but seem guarded or event absent from school functions? These questions are common in encounters with an unfamiliar Pacific Island culture. This talk is intended for Americans who find themselves in contact with Micronesians — as teachers, social workers, health-care providers, or simply as friends—and are puzzled by their island ways. It is for anyone struggling to make sense of cultural exchanges they don’t quite understand.

When: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Time: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Where: Campus Center 301
Cost: Free (free parking passes for those who pre-register)
Register Now!

Lecture 2: “Women’s Roles in Micronesia: Then and Now”

Co-sponsored by HIST 411 – Family & Gender in Oceania class and the Women’s Center at UH Hilo.

Abstract: Women’s power was once real but understated. Because of changes in the family brought on by monetization of the economy beginning in the 1960s, women’s power has been diminished and they today face serious abuse problems they had never faced before. (Note: Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? learn more>)

When: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Where: Campus Center 301
Cost: Free (free parking)
Register Now!

About the Speaker

fran-hezel-sjSince arriving in Micronesia in 1963 as a young Jesuit, Fr. Hezel has tirelessly served Micronesia in a number of ways. He was the founder / director of the widely popular Micronesian Seminar (, which is a nonprofit organization that serves the people of the four Micronesian countries that emerged with the dissolution of the former trust territory: the US Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and the three nations that are self-governing in free association with the United States: the Republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. The Micronesian Seminar engages in a wide variety of educational initiatives, conducts research on historical as well as contemporary topics, sponsors seminars and conferences, and is much concerned to stimulate reflection and public debate on current issues. Its extensive library, film, video and photograph collections are invaluable resources for researchers from around the world.

A self-taught historian, Hezel has published a half dozen books and well over sixty articles on Micronesia and his influence on Micronesian studies has been described as formidable. He is frequently consulted within and beyond Micronesia by government officials, educators, researchers, and development specialists. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Guam and Fordham University, his alma mater. Most recently, Hezel has been conducting research with Micronesians now living in the United States.

Suggested Reading:

Speaker Series: Leilani Tamu

 American Samoans & Samoans, Events, Polynesians, Speaker Series  Comments Off on Speaker Series: Leilani Tamu
Sep 202013


Writing and the Art of Cultural Diplomacy: Personal Reflections on “being Pacific” from a Kiwi Polynesian


“Kiwi Polynesian” Leilani Tamu is a poet, magazine columnist, Pacific historian, former New Zealand diplomat and dedicated mum. Born in New Zealand to a Samoan mother and Pakeha father, Leilani’s mixed cultural heritage has played an important role in shaping both her creative and professional career. Through her ability to draw on a diverse range of experiences, Leilani brings a fresh perspective to the table when tackling issues of social and cultural relevance to the Pacific region. In her columns, she has written about issues as diverse as racism, unemployment, property investment, cyber bullying, youth suicide and motherhood.

Leilani’s first book of poetry The Art of Excavation is due out in early 2014 and is a collection of work that traverses the inter-connected themes of Pacific history, colonisation, cosmology and genealogy. The collection took seven years to come to fruition and is being edited by New Zealand poet Siobhan Harvey.
In September 2013, Leilani will take up the Fulbright-CNZ Pacific Island Writer’s residency at the University of Hawai’i in Mānoa to work on her second book of poetry Cultural Diplomacy. While at Mānoa, Leilani will spend time learning about the life of Princess Ka’iulani who she regards as an example of a Polynesian ancestor whose legacy has the potential to inspire and motivate all people of the Pacific region.

Public Event

Monday, September 23, 2013
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Campus Center 301

Class Presentations

Tuesday September 24, 2013
ANTH 357, Dr. Joseph Genz
11:00 – 12:15
UCB 112

HIST 136, Dr. Kerri Inglis
12:30 – 1:45 pm
UCB 100


This event is co-sponsored by the International Student Services & Intercultural Education program, Minority Access & Achievement Program, Pacific Islands Studies Certificate, Pacific Islander Student Center, Professor Kerri Inglis (History), Professor Joseph Genz (Anthropology).

Transgender Pacific Islanders at UH Hilo

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Apr 222013

transgenderSelina Koloi, a senior political science and history major from American Samoa who is a HELP Research Assistant at the UH Hilo Women’s Center will talk about definitions and issues that affect the transgender community along with the intersection with the Pacific Islander community. What does UH Hilo and the community offer for students who have needs of transgender transitions, support, leadership opportunities, etc? This event is co-sponsored by the UH Hilo Women’s Center and is open to the public. Bring your lunch.

Transgender Pacific Islanders at UH Hilo
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
12:30 – 1:30 pm
PISC, Campus Center 307

About HELP:

Hawaii Engaged Learning Positions (HELP): Funded by the UH Hilo’s AANAPISI Grant and administered through the Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC), the HELP initiative enables Pacific islander students at UH Hilo to create meaningful employment opportunities that impact their education while fulfilling a need in the Pacific islander community on campus, on the Big Island, or throughout the Pacific region.

Kathly Jetnil-Kijiner: Marshallese Slam Poet

 Events, Speaker Series, What's Our Story?, Women  Comments Off on Kathly Jetnil-Kijiner: Marshallese Slam Poet
Apr 162013

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Marshallese poet, journalist, and writer who is currently pursuing her graduate degree at UH Manoa in Pacific Island Studies, will perform pieces that address current issues in the Pacific such as the history of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, racism against Micronesians in Hawai’i, and the rising threat of climate change for the Pacific. The event will take place on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 2:00 – 3:00 pm at the Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC) located in Campus Center 307.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Geography and History as part of the Certificate in Pacific Island Studies, hosted by the Pacific Islander Student Center, and funded by a UH Diversity and Equity Initiative Grant.

For more information, please contact Prof. Drew Kapp ( or Prof. Joe Genz (

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