Research collaboration with Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

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(left to right) Aska Vanroosebeke from JAMSTEC International Affairs Division; Gregg Moore, UH Mānoa professor of geology and geophysics; Dr. Asahiko Taira, president of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC); me and Kevin Hamilton, director of the International Pacific Research Center.

The president of Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) visited UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), or more specifically the school’s International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) from April 16-18. Dr. Asahiko Taira’s visit coincided with SOEST’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

JAMSTEC has funded IPRC for the last 17 years for a total of more than $40 million, and has just signed another multi-year cooperative agreement that extends through at least March 2017. This new agreement will continue JAMSTEC funding of collaborative research with IPRC. Our deepest gratitude to Dr. Taira and JAMSTEC for their continued interest in IPRC and SOEST.

Palamanui Fundraising Golf Tournament

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Ross Wilson, left, introduces officials from the University of Hawai’i and University of Hawai’i Foundation. From left to right are Interim UH President David Lassner, Director of the UH Center, West Hawai’i Marty Fletcher, Hawai’i Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane, UH Foundation President and CEO Donna Vuchinich, and Cordy McLaughlin, the Director of Development, Regional and Community Colleges.

Thanking golfers and sending them off at the 6th Annual Palamanui Fundraising Golf Tournament, April 14, 2014 at the Club at Hōkūliʻa.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

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We are grateful for the support of Howard Hughes Corporation Sr. VP David Striph (center) and Governor Neil Abercrombie (right).

On March 28 I attended an informative and enjoyable breakfast briefing on the proposed Barack Obama Presidential Center. Business and community leaders were invited to hear about proposed plans for the center in Kakaʻako.

Thank you to Governor Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamanaʻo Crabbe, Howard Hughes Corporation Sr. VP David Striph and many other community and business leaders for attending the briefing, which included an excellent video presentation of our proposal. We even secured a few additional generous donations from the Howard Hughes Corporation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Electric Industries to develop Hawaiʻi’s proposal.

The faculty-led Presidential Center leadership team, headed by American studies Associate Professor Robert Perkinson has been working on this project since the 2008 primaries, even before Barack Obama became president. The team also includes Maxine Burkett (law), Patricia Halagao (education), Maria Simone (architecture) and A.J. Halagao (advisor).

Thank you all for your dedication, hard work and support!

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell (far left) demonstrated his support for the Barack Obama Center, along with other community leaders.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

I had the honor of meeting Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education at a dinner coordinated by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and hosted by Debbie Berger and Bill Reeves of The Learning Coalition.

Secretary Duncan was in Honolulu as part of his Race to the Top tour of all 50 states. The U.S. Department of Education says Duncan is the first education secretary to visit Hawaiʻi in about 20 years.

While here, Secretary Duncan visited Ka Waihona o ka Naʻauao public charter school on the Waiʻanae Coast as well as Waipahu High School. He also praised the Hawaiʻi DOE and the public school system for significant progress made in the $75 million Race to the Top grant.

We are proud of the strong partnership between UH and the state DOE; one strong example of this was witnessed by Secretary Duncan in the work that Leeward Community College and UH West Oʻahu are doing with Waipahu High School around accelerated learning and early college classes.

KITV: U.S. Secretary of Education visits Waipahu High School

Meeting with President Underwood of the University of Guam

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University of Guam President Robert Underwood. Courtesy UOG Facebook

I had a good meeting with the president of the University of Guam, Dr. Robert Underwood, who visited us at Bachman Hall recently. We first met when I traveled to U of Guam in 2012 to help the campus with information technology matters.

Dr. Underwood and I discussed higher education at our respective institutions and the East-West Center hosted a luncheon in his honor while he was in Honolulu.

UH Community Colleges at the State Capitol

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Community college chancellors standing before doors representing opportunity and access at their campus. Via UH System Flickr

We had a successful College Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, as part of Education Week at the State Legislature.

One of the highlights was a symbolic presentation of the “opening of college doors” representing the the UH Community Colleges’ open-door mission. Our community college chancellors stood before a row of multi-colored doors and opened them for the students to symbolize accessibility, affordability and quality education offered by our community colleges.

UH VP for Community Colleges John Morton and I would like to thank Governor Neil Abercrombie, State Senators Jill Tokuda and Brian Taniguchi, and State Representative Isaac Choy for taking the time to attend our opening program and to experience our community colleges’ exhibits and demonstrations in the Rotunda and second floor of the State Capitol.

Thank you to VP Morton, Director of Marketing Communications Susan Lee and countless others who worked tirelessly to make our College Day a success!

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UH System Interim President David Lassner speaking at College Day at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Via Leeward CC Flickr

See more photos and video from College Day 2014

Visit with the president of the Republic of Kiribati

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Interim President David Lassner and His Excellency Anote Tong, president of the Republic of Kiribati

Today I met with His Excellency Anote Tong, president of the Republic of Kiribati. President Tong is in Hawaiʻi to give a keynote speech at the Pacific Risk Management ʻOhana conference Building Communities of Practice for Resilience at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. He also gave a public lecture at the East-West Center about the impacts of climate change on Kiribati and other Pacific Islands.

We enjoyed a discussion on education, sustainability and other issues related to being small island communities in the middle of the Pacific.

Making connections at Keio University in Japan

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Participants in the Evidence Based Approach (EBA) Consortium, March 7-8, 2014 Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan

I was in Japan recently to serve on Keio University’s external reviewing committee for the Re-Inventing Japan Project which aims to foster human resources capable of being globally active. The project also provides financial support to the formation of collaborative programs with ASEAN universities that conduct study abroad programs for Japanese students.

We discussed student recruitment, an accreditation plan and other higher ed issues.

State lawmakers tour UH Manoa

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Thanks to UH Manoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder, who led the tour with Rep. Isaac Choy to his right. Chancellor Tom Apple follows to his left with the rest of the group as we head to Edmondson Hall.

We had a robust discussion on the physical condition of the UH Mānoa campus with several lawmakers who took time out of their busy schedules yesterday to take a brief tour of some of our facilities. Many thanks to Representatives Isaac Choy, Calvin Say, Karen Awana and Henry Aquino for joining us on the tour. Thanks also to Rep. Linda Ichiyama who sent staff members on her behalf.

Regents John Holzman, James Lee and Randy Moore also joined us as UH Mānoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder and UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple led us on a tour of Snyder Hall which is in dire need of renovations. We also walked through Edmondson Hall which is currently being renovated, and we enjoyed exploring a couple of newly renovated classrooms in Sakamaki Hall.

Our deepest thanks to Reps. Choy, Say, Awana and Aquino for visiting our campus. We hope to host another tour for other state lawmakers in the near future.

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UH Manoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder gives lawmakers and UH regents a tour of a classroom laboratory in need of repair and renovation.

Building global conservation networks

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Representatives of the Smithsonian Institute, Bishop Museum and UH meet to collaborate.

It’s been about conservation this week.

Hawaiʻi is one of two finalists to host a large conservation conference here in Hawaiʻi. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2016 World Conservation Congress is also looking at Istanbul, Turkey.  IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, and its World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most inclusive nature conservation forum held every four years.

The forum hosts 8,000 to 10,000 delegates from around the world to discuss and decide environmental and development issues and policy. This is an amazing opportunity for Hawaiʻi.

I spent Monday with forum representatives on Hawaiʻi Island and attended a couple of receptions in their honor, including one with Governor Neil Abercrombie.

I think the group was pretty impressed with what our state as to offer and the way we have pulled together to bring this important event to our state.

Also last week—the Smithsonian Institution’s National Board was here for a few events, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding around the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network.

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David Lassner with Smithsonian Institute Secretary G. Wayne Clough upon the signing of a memorandum of understanding regarding the Marine Global Earth Observatory (Marine GEO) project.

The Smithsonian is launching a global network of coastal marine observatories called Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and the university’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology is partnering with the Smithsonian on a Hawaiʻi site (not yet determined) to potentially become the first “partner” site in the network. Exciting.