Former Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine Joins EWC Board


HONOLULU (May 7, 2021) – The East-West Center’s Board of Governors has elected former Marshall Islands President and current Member of Parliament Hilda Heine, EdD, as one of the board’s five international members.

EWC Board of GovernorsHilda Heine members and Center President Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke extended a warm welcome to Dr. Heine. “We are honored and delighted to have President Heine joining us on the EWC Board of Governors,” said Board Chairman Dr. James K. Scott. “I cannot think of a better person to represent the Pacific Islands on the board, and to help guide this special institution.”

“It is my honor to serve on the East-West Center Board of Governors,” Dr. Heine said. “The Center can play a pivotal role in promoting political, social, and cultural understanding between the United States and the Pacific and Asia region, and the role of the board is critical to ensuring this takes place. I look forward to learning from the esteemed members and being an effective voice of the Pacific Islands on the board.”

About the EWC Board of Governors:
The East-West Center Board of Governors consists of 18 members. The Governor of Hawai‘i appoints five members, the US Secretary of State appoints five members, and these ten members in turn elect five members from Asia and the Pacific Islands. There are also three ex-officio members: the Governor of Hawai‘i, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the President of the University of Hawai‘i.

About Dr. Hilda Heine:
Dr. Hilda Cathy Heine, EdD, served as the eighth President of the Marshall Islands from 2016 to January 2020. She is the first woman to serve as president of the country and the first woman to serve as head of state in any of the five Micronesian countries of the North Pacific. Prior to becoming President, Dr. Heine was the nation’s Minister of Education, and she is currently a senator representing Aur Atoll.

Dr. Heine was the first person in the Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree. In 1987, she co-founded the women's rights group Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI). She attended college in the United States where she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. She earned a master's degree at the University of Hawai‘i, and an educational doctorate at the University of Southern California.