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Students in a workshop at the Pamantasan conference.

Hawaiʻi Community College hosted the 31st University of Hawaiʻi systemwide Pamantasan conference in Hilo on October 18. The conference theme, Sulong Sulong! Activism and Advocacy!, examined Filipino equity gaps and focused on steps that can be taken to advance the needs of Filipino students in the UH System. The Pamantasan Council also honored five people during the conference.

In Filipino, pamantasan (root word, pantas meaning expert, wise person) means institute for higher learning. As its name suggests, higher education has been the central interest of the Pamantasan Council since its establishment in 1987. The UH Pamantasan Council consists of administrators, faculty, staff and students in the UH System committed to addressing the needs of Filipino students in Hawaiʻi.

The conference keynote address was given by psychologist Kevin Nadal, who specializes in Filipino mental health, identity development and LGBTQ issues. Also held in conjunction with October’s Filipino American History Month, the conference offered culture-based workshops for students to learn about their roots, such as hand-tap tattoos with Lane Wilcken, author and cultural practitioner of the ancient arts of the Philippines.


The Dr. Niki Libarios Award is given to a UH faculty or staff member who is currently employed or retired.This award was given to Luzviminda “Dr. Luz” Banez Migel, an assistant professor and coordinator of nursing programs at Hawaiʻi CC. Migel proudly shares her Filipino culture and heritage in numerous online teachings and collaborations between faculty of Hawaiʻi CC and the University of Northern Philippines.

The Dr. Julius Soria Award is given to a UH student or alumni. Allen Bartolome, a UH Hilo administration of justice alumni, received the award. Bartolome is currently employed with the County of Hawaiʻi Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Unit. He has dedicated his life to bettering the lives of individuals in Hawaiʻi, encouraging positive social change and protecting the rights of farmers.

The Tagumpay, or “success,” Award is given to contributors to the local community who have established successful careers in politics, government and business. The awardees are of Filipino ancestry, were born and raised on Hawaiʻi Island and graduated from local high schools. This award was given to L&L Vice President Bryan Andaya, Public Health Preparedness Planner Jason Dela Cruz and Hawaiʻi County Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz.

For more details on the conference and awards, go to the Hawaiʻi CC website.

group photo of awardee and others
Ashley Kierkiewicz, third from left, receives the Tagumpay Award.
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