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E Kamakani Hou higher education summit

Opening Remarks: Hawai‘i Higher Education Summit

Following Senator Daniel Inouye’s announcement of a $36 million stimulus grant to the University of Hawai‘i to expand broadband access and capabilities in the state, Senator Daniel K. Akaka and Representative Mazie K. Hirono shared opening remarks with the nearly 300 higher education summit participants.

Daniel Akaka at podium

Akaka added “aloha” to the summit’s theme, “E Kamakani Hou,” calling for a new wind with aloha. “As a former teacher, principal and state administrator, and as a proud graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, I know that quality education is critical to a healthy and prosperous society,” he said. Learning opportunities for keiki and adults are a good investment for everyone and should always be a priority.

Akaka called for providing students with the skills they need to succeed. “I hope Hawai‘i serves as a model,” sharing the strength of the university system and increased educational opportunities across the state and nation.

Mazie Hirono at podium

“We all know that education is a continuum that start before birth,” commented Hirono, citing her legislative focus on issues related to early childhood education.

“We must invest in research-based educational reform at every level” for the United States to again lead the world in educational attainment and Hawai‘i to build a globally competitive future.

MRC Greenwood at podium

University of Hawai‘i President M.R.C. Greenwood reminded the summit participants that nearly two out of three jobs in the state of Hawai‘i will require at least some college education by 2018. “The university truly understands it is part of the broader community,” she said. “We know that the stakes are high for our students and we will continue to ensure students are well equipped and well positioned to thrive in this global economy.” The system can bring resources to the state and build programs that, individually, we would not be able to accomplish, she added.