Just within the last month we have seen misfortune through natural disasters: Here in our own back yard our neighbors in Puna are still recovering from the effects of tropical storm Iselle, and in Hiroshima, Japan, the heavy rain, which caused the avalanche burying people alive, continues. These kinds of situations are certainly cause for us to pause, reflect, assess and act.
This is where I center on the word resiliency. Are our systems and infrastructures in the community resilient — now and for future generations? And I’m not only referring to our ability to bounce back from natural disasters. It includes challenges related to food safety, energy production, housing and more.
Like all island communities, we in Hawai‘i should be keenly attune to the connection between environmental sustainability and economic growth. We as community members have the opportunity to join together, building a better community for ourselves, and in that process, perhaps making an impact on a global scale.
Fulbright student Aka Assoumou of HPU, with Cultural Affairs Officer
Katherine Arcieri (photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State)
Here at Hawai‘i Pacific University we are consciously working to influence change in the area of sustainability and global leadership and strive to do more. The Oceanic Institute of HPU scientists are credited with producing the world’s first specific, pathogen-free population of Pacific White Shrimp, aiding food security in Asian communities. Representing the student body, Aka Assoumou, a Fulbright student from the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, had the distinct honor to be one of 50 students chosen nationally to attend the Summer Institute of Sustainability and Energy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, from Aug. 6-20. We are looking forward to hearing from Aka, who this fall is entering his second year in the Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development program, about the innovative and inspiring concepts he learned and conversations he engaged in at the institute.
Continuing in our quest to build a stronger community for Hawai‘i’s future, we announced last week the establishment of a Presidential Lecture Series on Global Leadership and Sustainability, which will launch in conjunction with HPU’s 50thanniversary in 2015. We would like to acknowledge Hawaiian Electric Industries for its generous contribution in support of this program.
The HPU Lecture Series will bring nationally and internationally recognized speakers to lead conversations on a range of resiliency topics. The lectures, which will be free and open to the public, will serve as the platform to bring together students, educators, community leaders, innovators and thought leaders.
HPU has been part of the Hawai‘i community for nearly 50 years and is committed to being part of it for the next 50 years and more. With an overarching objective to bring positive benefit to Hawai‘i and beyond, we are excited to launch this new lecture series.Mahalo,