CPIS kicked off the Oceania on the Reel Pacific film series in Spring 2018 with the intent of running the series for just one semester. But many requests arose from throughout the community, and those requests have been heard! The center is happy to continue Oceania on the Reel this Fall with a new lineup of films and other community activities. Oceania on the Reel features monthly screenings of Pacific films and includes interactive opportunities such as talk story sessions with producers and cast members, art stations, live performances, food trucks, and more. Bess Press, a local family-owned and operated press in Honolulu since 1979, has generously provided the venue for monthly events at its recently opened boutique shop in Kaimuki. Last semester’s Oceania on the Reel lineup featured Breadfruit and Open Spaces, Maisa: The Chamoru Girl Who Saved Guahan, Anointed, and Run It Straight for West Papua. Each monthly screening drew a diverse audience of up to 100 from the community, and we look forward to welcoming the everyone again this Fall. Screening event dates and times will be announced.
The center is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Tarcisius Kabutaulaka as the next director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. Kabutaulaka will begin his term as director in the Fall 2018 semester. He will take over from Dr Terence Wesley-Smith, who has served as director since 2010 and who will stay on as a member of the CPIS teaching faculty.
Born and raised on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Kabutaulaka is well known and widely respected throughout the region. He has established a distinguished record of teaching, research, and service in academic institutions, as well as a reputation for his work as a consultant for regional governments and nongovernmental organizations across Oceania and beyond. Kabutaulaka has been a member of the CPIS core faculty since 2009, teaching Pacific Islands studies courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with particular emphasis on issues related to land and economic development, conflicts, post-conflict rehabilitation/peace-building, natural resources, governance, regionalism, and China in Oceania. In addition to his teaching, Kabutaulaka is currently the editor of the Pacific Islands Monograph Series and member of the editorial board of The Contemporary Pacific. Prior to joining the center, Kabutaulaka was a research fellow for the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center, and he has taught at the University of the South Pacific and the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education. Kabutaulaka holds a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University, as well as a master of arts in development studies and bachelor of arts in history/politics and language/literature from the University of the South Pacific.
The School of Pacific and Asian Studies named Dr Joakim “Jojo” Peter as the Center for Pacific Islands Studies 2018 Distinguished Alumnus. Jojo was honored in at a reception on March 7, 2018, at College Hill in Mānoa. Jojo is from Ettal, Mwortlocks, in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. He earned an MA in Pacific Islands Studies in 1994 and a second master’s in history in 1997 from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He worked as director of the College of Micronesia Chuuk Campus before returning to Hawai‘i in 2011 to pursue a doctorate in special education at UHM focusing on immigrant families of children with special needs. He completed the PhD in 2017. He has been very active in community work both in Chuuk, where he was head of Chuuk Disabled Persons Association and a founding member of the FSM Disability Council, and in Hawai‘i where he co-founded the COFA-CAN (Compact of Free Association Community and Advocacy Network) and serves as community advocacy manager for We Are Oceania, a collaborative project aimed at centralizing the support systems for all Micronesian communities, families, and individuals in Hawai‘i. In 2017, Dr Peter was nominated to the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission by Governor David Ige, and his nomination was confirmed by Hawai‘i State Legislature.
CPIS began 2018 with an addition to its core faculty. Dr James Perez Viernes joined the center in January as Outreach Director. James is responsible for all aspects of local, national, and regional Pacific Islands outreach. In addition, he is responsible for organizing events and conferences, expanding the center’s digital outreach, and helping administer the National Resource Center (NRC) grant. James is a 2008 graduate of the center’s MA program and completed a PhD at UH Mānoa in 2015. Prior to joining CPIS this year, James was a member of the faculty of the University of Guam’s Chamorro Studies Program. In addition to teaching in and serving as Program Coordinator of Chamorro Studies, James also served as graduate faculty in the Micronesian Studies and English programs and research faculty with UOG’s Micronesian Area Research Center.
Dr Robert C Kiste, affectionately known as “Bob,” passed away on November 28, 2017, at the age of 81. Bob had served at the helm of CPIS for twenty-four years until his retirement in 2002. In addition to leading in an administrative capacity, Bob mentored and collaborated with countless colleagues, students, and members of the Pacific community. A memorial gathering, hosted by CPIS, was held on March 8, 2018, in the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections of the Hamilton Library at UH Mānoa. Honoring Bob’s lifetime commitment to the region and the center, the evening featured a list of distinguished speakers and video testimonials sent in from the Pacific Islands region. Over 100 close friends, colleagues, former students, and others inspired by Bob’s work attended the memorial, along with Bob’s loving wife Valerie.
Following several years of service in the US Army in the 1950s, Bob completed his graduate and undergraduate studies on the US continent, going on serve as a visiting professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa from 1972–73 and again in 1976. In July 1978, he became a permanent fixture at UH Mānoa when he was hired as director of the university’s Pacific Islands Studies Program (PIP). The program lacked dedicated faculty, support staff, and a commitment of resources, financial or otherwise. In Bob’s words, Pacific Islands Studies at UH had “nowhere to go but up.” Through Bob’s vision, leadership, passion, and advocacy, PIP grew into what is today: the Center for Pacific Islands Studies housed in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies (previously the School of Hawaiian, Pacific, and Asian Studies).