The University of Hawaiʻi hosted U.S Representative Ed Case on November 22 to highlight UH’s Indo-Pacific programs and initiatives and discuss expansion of federal funding opportunities. Case met for the afternoon with about two dozen UH Indo-Pacific experts, alumni, students and leaders including UH President David Lassner and UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis Syrmos.
“It was an incredible opportunity for me to just sit here with so many incredible professionals in the UH ʻohana and just dig into the opportunities that are available for the next couple of decades as our country and our world focus much more on the Indo-Pacific,” said Case after the event.
A wide range of topics were covered starting with UH’s Indo-Pacific academic programs, including the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the new Strategic Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs through the School of Pacific and Asian Studies. Other areas discussed included the new Oceania Initiative to bring together System-wide efforts in health, climate, education and more; alignment between UH and the East-West Center for students from the Pacific Islands; a recently created academic program for careers in intelligence through the College of Social Sciences; and a roundtable where students and alumni shared their backgrounds and current work.
Rep. Case has been a leader in Congress to expand U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific. He is the co-chair of the bipartisan Pacific Islands Caucus, sponsor of the Boosting Long-term U.S. Engagement in the Pacific (BLUE Pacific) Act and has visited multiple Pacific Islands.
“There is a ton of existing capacity here and the challenge is to really get it as coordinated as possible with all the other institutions and expertise in Hawaiʻi,” said Case, who also acknowledged that continued federal funding is key to the coordination. “If we can do all that, we’re going to take this to a whole other level in terms of the capacity of the University of Hawaiʻi.”
After the event, Lassner commended Case for his support and commitment to the region.
“We were honored to have the opportunity to share with Rep. Case the remarkable expertise and work of our faculty,” said Lassner. “His leadership in Congress on matters relating to Oceania has been exemplary, and we look forward to working with him and our entire delegation to strengthen ties between Hawaiʻi and our Pacific ʻohana.”