Canoe follower Saki Uchida

Woman working on canoe hull

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa brought 22-year-old Saki Uchida across the Pacific.

Some might call it destiny. Her grandfather was in the Japan Coast Guard; her father writes about the ocean and teaches environmental ocean studies. She was just 8 when first introduced to Polynesian voyaging master navigator Nainoa Thompson through a mutual friend of her father’s.

A teenager when the Hawaiʻi sailing canoe visited Japan in 2007, she met the sailors—including one of the first Japanese crew members, ocean photographer Kanako Uchino—and sailed with them from Yokosuka to Kamakura.

With her parents’ blessing, she moved to Hawaiʻi after graduating from high school in Kamagata, Japan, three years ago. She joined Kapu Na Keiki, a Polynesian Voyaging Society youth group, and rode her moped across the city to Sand Island to learn the basics of navigating and sailing. At the Honolulu Community College Marine Education and Training Center, she also learned about the college’s Small Vessel Fabrication and Repair Program and started classes there this fall. She is helping refurbish Hōkūleʻa.

Uchida says sailing aboard Hōkūleʻa is indescribable, both tough and exhilarating. She has yet to chart her future, equally drawn to continuing her work with Hōkūleʻa in Hawaiʻi and educating the Japanese people about the ocean, preservation and navigation.

Read more about Hōkūleʻa and Polynesian voyaging ties to higher education at the University of Hawaiʻi in Mālamalama Online.

Agricultural peacemaker Senen Bacani

Senen Bacani  headshot

MA ’68 Mānoa

UH alumnus and former Philippines Secretary of Agriculture Senen Bacani promotes peace through agricultural development. His La Frutera banana plantation employs 1,745 people, exports to Asia and the Middle East and has transformed the once war-torn area.

Carbon geographer Wendy Miles

Wendy Miles headshot

PhD student, Mānoa

Geography doctoral candidate and Fulbright student Wendy Miles returns to Indonesia to study how the evolving global carbon market affects people whose livelihoods depend on the rainforests and to give them a voice in policy making.

Ambassador Sung Chul Yang

Sung Chul Yang headshot

MA ’65 Mānoa

Ten years old when the Korean war erupted, for University of Hawaiʻi alumnus and Korean Ambassador Sung Chul Yang has devoted his career to reconciliation and peaceful reunification.

Read on the University of Hawaiʻi News site: Former Korean ambassador uses lessons learned at Manoa

Education minister Hao Ping

Hao Ping headshot

MA in history ’95 Mānoa

Hao Ping was just the second student from Peking University (Beida) to attend the University of Hawaiʻi on exchange. A decade later, he facilitated Beijing Foreign Studies University’s partnership in the University of Hawaiʻi Confucius Institute. He is now vice minister of education for the People’s Republic of China.

Read in Mālamalama: Chinese education vice minister

Philanthropist Ashok Malhotra

Ashok Malhotra headshot

PhD in philosophy ’69 Mānoa

India-born State University of New York Professor Ashok Malhotra has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice for the work of his non-profit Ninash Foundation. Formed to honor his late wife, the organization promotes literacy among children and adults throughout the world.

Read in Mālamalama: Philosopher philanthropist

Pacific forecaster Ray Tanabe

Raymond Tanabe headshot

BS ’97, MS ’00 Mānoa

National Weather Service Honolulu is the largest local weather service forecast office in the United States. As meteorologist in charge, Raymond Tanabe directs the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and provides international aviation, marine, climate and tropical forecasts, advisories and warnings in addition to local forecasts for Hawaiʻi and coastal waters.

Read in Mālamalama: Meteorologist in charge

Diving champion Emma Friesen

Emma Friesen headshot

BA ’11 Mānoa

Dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, UH alumna and Olympic hopeful Emma Friesen came back from injury and illness to win top student-athlete honors, a National Collegiate Athletic Association title and a Canadian national gold medal in diving.