Senator J. Kalani English
Senator J. Kalani English of the Hawai‘i State Legislature was selected as the recipient of the inaugural School of Pacific and Asian Studies Distinguished Graduate Award in Pacific Islands Studies in 2017. Kalani was raised by his grandparents in Hana, Maui, and attended Kamehameha Schools. He then studied at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan where he received a certificate from the Center for Public and Business Administration Education. Kalani went on to earn a BA in Pacific Islands studies at Hawai‘i Loa College (HPU) and an MA in Pacific Islands Studies at CPIS in 1995. Kalani has also been a degree fellow the East-West Center’s Institute of Culture & Communication. He is bilingual in English and Hawaiian and proficient in Mandarin. He worked as chief of staff for a state senator before entering politics himself as a two-term member on the Maui County Council. In November 2000, he was elected to the Hawaii State Senate to represent Senate District 7and has served there ever since. During his terms in the Senate, Kalani has served on numerous committees including Ways and Means; Human Services; Education; Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health; Water and Land; Transportation; Energy and Environment; Hawaiian Affairs; Tourism; and Intergovernmental Affairs. Kalani has also served as Senate Majority leader and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism and International Affairs. Kalani has served the broader Pacific Islands region in various capacities. From 1993–1996, he was an adviser to the United Nations Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia. He is a former president of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures. Kalani has strong family connections to French Polynesia and travels there regularly.