The Kohala Center Names VP of Advancement, Innovation

May 12, 2015, 7:31 AM HST
* Updated May 12, 7:33 AM
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The Kohala Center has named a new vice president of advancement and innovation.

Keawe Lanakila Liu, a longtime resident of Waimea, will take over the role on July 1 for the community-based non-profit organization.

Liu joins The Kohala Center after a stint with the Pauahi Foundation, where he served as its executive director. While there, he created strategic initiatives in advancing Native Hawaiian education and co-founded the Mahi’ai Matchup program, which provided local farmers with access to agricultural lands that were held by Kamehameha Schools.

The Paka Ua Movement was also started under Liu at the Pauahi Foundation. This brought together community and corporate partnerships to build on the number of scholarships available to Native Hawaiian students around the state and the mainland.

“Hawai’i Island is a special place for me, and I’ve long admired The Kohala Center’s efforts to uphold it as an example of sustainable living—for Hawai‘i and the world,” Liu said in a statement. “I’m thrilled and honored to be part of the momentum The Kohala Center has already created and to play a role in developing new and innovative ways to further its progress, especially through the development of its spectacular new campus on Kohala Mountain. This opportunity to join The Center and contribute to expanding its community of support for resource management, education, and sustainability in agriculture and energy is one I simply could not pass up.”


Pacific Business News recognized Liu in 2011 as its “Young Community Leader of the Year” and also placed him in its “40 under 40” list. He is well known in Waimea’s educational community. He was the assistant headmaster for external relations from 2009-2012 at Hawai’I Preparatory Academy, his alma mater. He also taught Hawaiian history, Pacific studies, and mathematics there.


Liu has also spent time at nearby Parker School as its head of institutional advancement from 2003-2009.

“Given his dedication to expanding educational opportunities for Hawai‘i’s youth and his work to move our islands toward greater food and energy independence, Keawe’s interests and accomplishments are in perfect alignment with The Kohala Center’s values,” said Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer, The Kohala Center’s president and chief executive officer. “With the recent gift of a magnificent campus as well as the continued support of our friends, donors, and community partners, Keawe will guide us as we develop a campus master plan and work to build an endowment for The Kohala Center’s perpetual success. He is joining our team at a most auspicious time in our organization’s history.”

The Kohala Center was founded in the year 2000 and is independently focused on research, conservation, and education. It works to create community well-being programs in energy self-reliance, food self-reliance, ecosystem health, and the development of intellectual leadership.

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