Breakfast reception guests hosted by UH Maui College include Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige.

University of Hawaiʻi Maui College officials visited universities in the Philippines in October to create new opportunities for students seeking global experiences. Students of Filipino descent also constitute the largest Asian-American demographic in UH Maui College’s student population, at 70 percent of the Asian pool.

The trip’s purpose was to renew and solidify relationships and build educational tracks for UH Maui College’s study abroad immersion program called International Mobility or I.M. Ready. The program provides students with opportunities to gain global experiences, expand their network and build lasting relationships beyond the islands.

During the trip, UH Maui College hosted a breakfast reception funded by its partner, the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. Philippine university officials attended the reception to help kick off the tour. Honored guests included Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige and Philippine Consul General of Honolulu Gina Jamoralin. Officials from partner institutions and organizations such as the U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Division, Ayala Foundation and Ayala Land, Teach for the Philippines, Rosa Farms, Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi, Rotary Club Manila, FEdCenter Finance Education and Rajah Travels were also in attendance.

It takes a village to raise our students, and today we’re assured that our village in UH Maui College transcends miles of the Pacific Ocean.
—Debra Nakama

“It takes a village to raise our students, and today we’re assured that our village in UH Maui College transcends miles of the Pacific Ocean,” Debra Nakama, vice chancellor of student affairs, said at the reception. “What we’re trying to do here is build meaningful relationships and set the foundation for our students for an experiential, immersion program—not your traditional student exchange.”

A memorandum of understanding was signed between UH Maui College and the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Both University of the Philippines President Danilo Concepcion and Chancellor Michael Tan attended.

Memorandum of understanding signing at Mapua University

The college also renewed its relationship with the former Mapua Institute of Technology, now known as Mapua University, led by its President Reynaldo B. Vea.

“I was impressed by what I saw and learned in the Philippines, and want to facilitate the exchanges that could bring so much potential to our institutions,” Nakama said. “What I saw was innovation and everyone’s willingness to build bridges. UH Maui College can be a leader in Hawaiʻi towards that direction.

The I.M. Ready program was conceived with the support of the Kabalikat Council, a group of Filipino professionals whose mission is to help advance and promote higher education at UH Maui College, and the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation, which has facilitated meaningful exchanges with international partners over the years.

—By Kit Furukawa