East-West Center Receives $2.3 Million from Hawaii Pacific Rim Society


HONOLULU (Oct. 27, 2017) – The East-West Center has received one of the largest single donations in its history from longtime institutional supporter the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society. The $2.3 million gift will establish the Hideo Murakami Fund for Scholarships and the Arts to support EWC arts programming and scholarships for participants in the Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program.

Hawaii Pacific Rim Society President Stanley Kawaguchi (center, in lei) with East-West Center staff and participants

“Over 30 years ago, the driving force behind forming the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, Hideo Murakami, had this vision,” Society President Stanley Kawaguchi said at an Oct. 24 appreciation luncheon thanking the Society for the gift. “He really felt that Hawai‘i was a perfect place for cultural exchanges between the US and countries in the Asia Pacific region to take place, and he always said that the East-West Center arts and leadership programs were perfect fits.”

Thanks to Murakami, Kawaguchi, late Trustee Frank Hata and other leaders, the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society has made annual contributions to Center programs since 1999, totaling $1.3 million. Before Murakami passed away last year, Kawaguchi said, he asked that the remainder of the Society’s assets be given to the East-West Center to help fund the arts and leadership programs “for many, many years to come.”

East-West Center Arts Program Coordinator Eric Chang said that the Society’s contributions have helped roughly 250,000 Hawai‘i students, seniors and the general public gain a better appreciation for Asia Pacific art forms through support for exhibitions, performances and visiting artists. In 2001, the Society established the George R. Ariyoshi Scholarship Fund, which has so far enabled 238 students from 36 countries participate in the Center’s flagship Asia Pacific Leadership Program. 

“We deeply appreciate the support of Hawaii Pacific Rim Society over the past 19 years,” said East-West Center Development Officer Gary Yoshida, “and we wish to pay special tribute to the Society’s late leaders, Frank Hata and Hideo Murakami. This generous, lasting gift in Mr. Murakami’s name will help ensure that his vision will continue to flourish at the Center.”


About the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society:

The Hawaii Pacific Rim Society was formed in 1986 to promote cultural exchange and develop greater understanding and partnership among the peoples of the Pacific Rim Region.  With contributions from Hawai‘i’s people and businesses, the Society seeks to advance the visions of Hawai‘i Governors John Burns, George Ariyoshi and John Waihe‘e, who believed in building a bridge between East and West with leadership training and building awareness. Trustees have included Hideo Murakami, Frank Hata, Dennis Toyomura, Stanley Kawaguchi, Valerie Hata-Kowal and Teruko Murakami.

Hideo Murakami was the co-founder and president of the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society.  After receiving his M.A. from Kansas State University in 1953, he began an internship with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and achieved the title of Fellow of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.  He served in the Army for two years and established his own architectural practice in 1959, which he operated successfully for 15 years. In 1975 he accepted a position as Hawai‘i State Comptroller under Governor George Ariyoshi and later became Housing Coordinator under Governor John Waihe‘e.  He also served as Senior Vice President with the Queen Emma Foundation from 1994 to 2004. 

Mr. Murakami passed away on July 4, 2016. In his own words, “The 21st century promises to be the age of the Pacific Rim.  But if we are to realize this vast potential, we must recognize that our borders are no longer boundaries but gateways to economic and cultural growth.”

About the East-West Center Arts Program:

For 38 years, the East-West Center Arts Program has enriched the Hawai‘i community and beyond through concerts, lectures, symposia and exhibitions focusing on traditional arts of the Asia Pacific region, and by arranging cultural and educational tours by artists who are skilled in bridging cultures.  The Hawaii Pacific Rim Society has been one of the Arts Program’s major supporters since 1999.

About the Asia Pacific Leadership Program:

Founded in 2001, the Asia Pacific Leadership Program is a signature program of the East-West Center that attracts high-potential leaders from across the Asia Pacific region and links regional awareness with personal and professional leadership development.  In the last 16 years, the APLP has created a network of 554 dynamic leaders in 58 countries who are helping to build a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community. The George R. Ariyoshi scholarship Fund honoring America’s first governor of Japanese ancestry was established in 2001 through grants from the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society for Asia Pacific Leadership Program scholarships. As a result of the Society’s generous support, 238 students from 36 countries have been able to participate in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program since then.