Young Environmental Leaders from Asia To Study Sustainability on Big Island
HONOLULU (June 1, 2010) -- A group of 20 undergraduate scholars from Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand will be visiting the Big Island June 2-8 as part of an innovative environmental leadership program designed to foster a greater understanding of sustainability in the U.S. and aid in the development of more resilient communities in their home countries.

The five-week Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders on Global Environmental Issues (SUSI) is hosted by the East-West Center with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  For more information on the program and biographies of participants, visit

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: On Sunday June 6 at 9 a.m. the group will be visiting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. And on Tuesday June 8 at 10 a.m. they will visit Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center. To arrange news coverage of the visits, please contact Derek Ferrar at 944-7204, or [email protected] .

On May 23, the program’s participants arrived in Hawai‘i to participate in leadership development workshops and obtain an overview of sustainability in the U.S. through lectures at the East-West Center’s Honolulu campus and field studies including Lyon Arboretum, Hanauma Bay, and sailing on the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a .

On June 2, they will travel to the Big Island of Hawai‘i to meet with leaders from several field research sites, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center. When they return to Honolulu on June 8, they will be participating in a two-day conference with more than 20 local environmental leaders. Their last week will be in Washington D.C. with briefings at the Environmental Protection Agency and Senate Committee for Environment and Public Works.

The institute will focus on three key topics: 1) developing sustainable systems for natural resource and agricultural management; 2) food, energy and water security; and 3) ecotourism.

The program’s participants bring a broad range of backgrounds, including study of basic medicine and the effects of climate change on human health; marine biology, water-purification and renewable energy research; and information technology.

  Goals of the program include:

  • Transformative learning experience through introductions to a broad spectrum of American life.
  • Opportunities for U.S. practitioners to learn about environmental challenges in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Building networks and collaborative projects that link participants with U.S environmental professionals to develop practical solutions to shared challenges.

The Institute is hosted by the East-West Center in collaboration with more than fifty organizations, including the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Environmental Center, Yale University’s Global Environmental Governance Project, The Nature Conservancy and The Kohala Center on the Big Island.


The EAST-WEST CENTER promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

The Study of the U.S. Institutes are designed and funded by the Study of the U.S. Branch in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  Study of the U.S. Institute participants are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, ECA has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  Other ECA programs include the Fulbright Program and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. For more information about ECA programs, visit .