Twenty-one students and two faculty members from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have been chosen to participate in the 2016 Tomodachi Inouye Scholars Program, administered by the U.S.-Japan Council, which honors the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Inouye. The Program reflects Senator Inouye’s passion for education and his commitment to the perpetuation of indigenous cultures and languages.
Majority of the students, and both of the kumu, chosen are from UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language. A College, at which, all upper division courses are taught through the Hawaiian language. Some classes include phonetics and phonology, song writing, Hawaiian music, and sense of identity.
Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani’s cultural and language exchange program comes from a composition written by Larry Kimura in 2003 for the late Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Daniel Akaka. Both Senators were very influential in creating bills and laws that have positively affected the Hawaiian language movement over the last thirty years.
The Nāaoloa program and its participating scholars hope to emulate the legacy of our kūpuna and the late Senator Inouye in reaching and interacting with the most distant worlds. Through travel, education, language and cultural exchange they seek to be enlightened in truly understanding where they come from and how they are deeply connect to others all around the world.