Two rising stars from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are among 200 emerging leaders from the Asia-Pacific region selected for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program.
Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer Kaiwipuni Punihei Lipe and Assistant Professor of Law Troy J. H. Andrade were selected for the one-year leadership development and community engagement program that seeks to inspire, empower and connect emerging leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region.
Lipe and Andrade will join President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, and other prominent speakers and leaders, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in December for discussions around progress and opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region and values-based leadership. The events will be livestreamed.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be selected for this program,” said Lipe. “As such, I accept the kuleana to bring back what I learn and the connections I make to further the work we do in Hawaiʻi and at UH Mānoa.”
Andrade also said it was an honor to be selected.
“I look forward to building connections with and learning from leaders across the Pacific and Asia,” said Andrade. “Hawaiʻi has a lot to offer the world, and I am heartened to be alongside Punihei and other leaders from Hawaiʻi to have this platform to bring our perspectives and experiences into the conversation.”
The 200 emerging leaders selected are from 33 nations and territories from the Asia Pacific region. In addition to the plenary sessions, leaders will participate in skill building workshops, leadership development training and a community service project.
“We are so proud that two of our own have been selected to join this elite group of scholars and community leaders,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Troy and Punihei will strongly contribute to the accomplishment of the inspiring goal of the Obama Foundation to cultivate and empower the next generation of values-based leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Lipe is the Native Hawaiian affairs officer in the UH Mānoa Provost Office. She is the director of the Mānoa Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center, an effort by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the interim director of the Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation whose mission is to generate access to the Hawaiian language repository and train new resource people.
Andrade is an assistant professor in the William S. Richardson School of Law. He is the director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program, which offers small, supportive learning communities for first year law students who have overcome adversity and show a strong commitment to social justice and serving disadvantaged communities. Lehua scholars often go on to assume leadership roles in many organizations at and through the law school.
Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific Program Hawaiʻi leaders
The other Hawaiʻi leaders for the 2019 Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program are UH alumni Benjamin Eduardo Trevino (formerly of UHERO), Kaleo Manuel, Leanne Kealoha Fox (adjunct faculty, UH Mānoa JABSOM and CTAHR) and Vehia Wheeler; and Alec Wagner and Breanna Rose.
President Obama addressed emerging Asia and Pacific leaders at an Obama Foundation event on January 7, 2019 at the East-West Center on the UH Mānoa campus.