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To prepare students for dynamic careers that require expertise in the Asia-Pacific region, the School of Pacific and Asian Studies (SPAS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched the Careers in Asia-Pacific Affairs (CAPA) initiative. CAPA is designed to increase students’ awareness of the diverse, exciting careers that they can pursue.

The collaborative initiative presents a significant step towards equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in Asia-Pacific related careers in government, education, business and the nonprofit sector. Key elements include the creation of a three-credit course in the Asian studies department that will enable students to explore the range of careers related to Asian studies and develop the skills and materials that will position them to succeed in these fields. A speaker series is another critical component which aims to build bridges between students and future prospective employers.

“We believe that University of Hawaiʻi students have important contributions to make across many different fields, and we aim to support them by offering world-class education and training, connecting them with employers, and helping them to build their professional networks,” said Kristi Govella, director of the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs which is housed in the UH Mānoa College of Arts, Languages, and Letters.

CAPA speaker series

This fall, the School of Pacific and Asian Studies kicked off the CAPA initiative with two speaker series events. Students connected with guest speaker Larry Chun, a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service at the U.S. Department of State. Chun talked about how growing up in Hawaiʻi has served him in a unique career field that encompasses international diplomacy and federal law enforcement. The series also featured Mireille Zieseniss, a public diplomacy advisor at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, who touched on the opportunity her career provides to tell America’s story, connect people, and shape foreign policy.

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UH Mānoa students attend CAPA speaker series on public diplomacy and careers in foreign service

The CAPA speaker series continues with Think Tank Careers: Policy, Communications, and Project Management, October 25, 3–4 p.m. at Moore Hall 258 or online. The event will feature Elina Noor (senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Keoni Williams (information and publications officer at the Pacific Islands Development Program) and Jesslyn Cheong (senior program manager at Pacific Forum).

The CAPA initiative complements the cross-center Indo-Pacific Affairs Initiative in SPAS, which is supported by Congressionally-directed funding during 2022–25 to bolster UH Mānoa’s strengths in Asia and the Pacific through the newly created Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs and other features such as a paid internship program, visiting experts, and the expansion of educational and professional development opportunities.

Funded by Title VI through the U.S. Department of Education, the CAPA initiative is co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the East Asia National Resource Center, the Center for Pacific Island Studies, the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs and the Department of Asian Studies.

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