Young Environmental Leaders from SE Asia Study U.S. Environmental Movement
HONOLULU (May 29) - A group of 20 undergraduate scholars from Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are currently in Hawai‘i participating in an innovative environmental leadership development program. The program is designed to foster a greater understanding of the U.S. environmental movement and aid in the development of sustainable pathways to environmental stewardship.

On May 10, participants of the United States Institute on the Environment (USIE) arrived in Honolulu to participate in leadership development workshops and obtain an overview of the U.S. environmental movement through lectures at the East-West Center’s Honolulu campus and field studies in the community before departing for Maui on Wednesday, May 26. Upon their return to Honolulu on Saturday, May 30, they will be participating in a Sustainable Solutions Series from June 1-3 at the East-West Center before departing to San Francisco, the Monterey Bay area, and Washington D.C. for the remaining two weeks of the institute.

On Wednesday June 3 from 9:30-10:30 a.m., Ted Peck, of the Hawai‘i state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, and Robert Alm of Hawaiian Electric, along with others, will be participating in presentations on “Sustainable Solutions from government programs.” The presentations, which are open to the public, will be held at the Hawai‘i Imin International Conference Center (Jefferson Hall, 1777 East-West Road).

Diversity is a key strength of the program, whose participants bring a broad range of backgrounds, including Aerospace Engineering, Green Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Urban Development, Tourism, and Public Health.

Participants include:

  • Sophiah Jamil (Singapore), who is studying the security implications of climate change and has published research on the environmental movement among Muslim youth;
  • Masikerei Vunicagi (Fiji), who works as a field trainer educating rural communities on environmentally sustainable living practices;
  • Chow Geh Tsung (Malaysia), who studies water quality and fresh water resources, and has worked in Malaysia’s heavy industry sector;
  • Lee Yee Hui Jonathan (Singapore), who is studying the effects of the aviation industry on climate change, and has been part of General Electric Aviation’s “Eco-imagination” team;
  • Ms. Subhashni Raj (Fiji), who is studying coral reef biodiversity and conservation on a scholarship to Bangalore University;
  • Wong Shu Kuan (Malaysia), a marine biology student focusing on conservational genetics.

Funding for the United States Institute on the Environment program is provided by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  For more information on the program, visit


The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.