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Conference to Focus on College Education for Pacific Islanders

Posted January 23, 2013, 01:25 PM HST
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A two-day conference on providing college education for Pacific Islanders will be held next month at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The event entitled “Navigating the Success of Pacific Islanders in Higher Education” will bring together leaders from education, government and the community along with high school students and their families. The purpose of the conference is to encourage students of Pacific Island heritage to seek a college education and to develop strategies to ensure their success.

The event is free and open to the public.

“UH Hilo has become a popular destination for students throughout the Pacific region,” Vidalino Raatior, director of the UH-Hilo Pacific Islander Student Center said in a statement issued by the university. “Over the years, many Pacific Island families have also made Hawai`i their adopted home, and as with any new immigrant population comes the cultural, social, and educational challenges.”

The conference convenes at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, in Campus Center 301 with a leadership summit featuring high school and college educators. UH-Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs  Luoluo Hong will give the keynote address focusing on institutional partnerships to ensure student success at all levels of service as a matter of social justice.

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Feb. 9 has been designated as a “College Day” for high school students and parents of Pacific Island ethnicity to participate in workshops, forums and activities to inform, motivate and inspire them to seek higher educational opportunities and resources.

Sessions begin that day at 9 a.m. with the keynote address by Dr. Lorraine Sonoda-Fogel, M.D., a local doctor of Samoan descent who will talk about resilience amidst poverty and the value of hard work as exemplified by her own life story. Breakout sessions, workshops, a resource fair, panel discussions, and information from various university officials will wrap-up the conference.

For more information or to register call (808) 933-3857 or visit www.pacificstudents.org.

The event is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education and sponsored jointly by UH-Hilo and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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