The Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
MICRONESIAN CONNECTIONS FORUM
On 16 February, the Ethnic Studies Program, the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center, hosted the forum, “Perspectives on Micronesian Communities in Hawaiʻi and Micronesia’s Pacific Connections (particularly Hawaiʻi)”. The forum addressed how education, research, and civic engagement can go a long way to avoid repeating the results of difficult integration in the local community, including discrimination, and prejudice against new immigrant groups to Hawai‘i. Dr Ty Kāwika Tengan (Ethnic Studies and Anthropology) and Pastor Paul Otoko opened the event, which was attended by community members, service providers, and UH students and faculty members. The day’s panels included “Personal Stories of Micronesian Students” with Ebil Matsutaro (CPIS MA student), LJ Rayphand, Dolmii Remeliik, and Nikita Salas; “Public Policy and Issues Relating to Discrimination” with Hawai‘i Senator Kalani English, Law Professor Charles R. Lawrence, Health Law Policy Center/Community Projects Legal Director Dina Shek, and moderator Dr Jon Osorio; and “Overview of Micronesian Communities in Hawaiʻi – COFA, Health, Housing, and Education” with Neal A. Palafox, Joakim Peter, Josie Howard, and Dahlia Asuega. Navigation students of Master Navigator Pius Mau Pialug gave a memorable closing that related to the initial idea for this forum, which was influenced by Pialug’s endeavors to share information and teaching throughout the region, as well as a concern with interethnic relations in Hawai‘i, particularly with our newest immigrant groups from Micronesia. The forum was organized by Dr Ulla Hasager (Ethnic Studies) with support from Lola Quan Bautista (CPIS), Joakim Peters (CPIS lecturer), Leonard Leon (Marshallese instructor), Jesi Bennett (CPIS MA student), and Willy Kauai. It was successful in its aim to contribute to a positive and open dialogue in the UH community about the current situation regarding public knowledge and policy changes.