Alumni Speakers on Today's Core Issues


We are thrilled to feature our dynamic alumni as they share about today’s core issues: Climate Change and Communities; A Global Look at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Pandemics and Planetary Health; and Misinformation and the Media on July 16 & 17th at 3:00 pm-4:15 pm HST.


Friday, July 16 at 3:00 pm-4:15 pm HST

Climate Change and Communities: Core Conversation 1

Supin WongbusarakumSupin Wongbusarakum (PhD in Geography, 1998; 7th International Conference on Environmental Future, 2018), International Community Fisheries Officer at The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Supin Wongbusarakum received her PhD in human geography from the University of Hawai’i and a certificate in international leadership from the East-West Center in Honolulu. She is currently in Cambodia, working as International Community Fisheries Officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Since 2005, she has both led and supported projects related to establishing and strengthening social objectives in natural resource management and nature conservation. She was the first senior social scientist with the Worldwide Office of The Nature Conservancy and then subsequently the leader of a multi-disciplinary team in the international capacity program for ecosystem approaches to fisheries management with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She has authored and served as trainer for multiple guidelines for socioeconomic monitoring and climate-related vulnerability assessments. She has been a consultant for UNESCO, UNDP, JICA, USAID, FAO, and other international organizations, working extensively with communities, scientists, NGOs and governmental staff in Southeast Asia, Pacific islands, and the Americas.

Supin is committed to improving human well-being while achieving environmental objectives, ensuring the integration of social safeguards into all types of resource management and sustainable development while fostering climate adaptation and resilience. She is a strong advocate of applying social sciences in integrated monitoring, and of actively engaging local communities and resource stewards at all levels in collaborative project planning and implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation.


Johnny HadleyJohnny Hadley (Research Program, Integrating Climate Change Adaption 2018), Child Protection Coordinator, Federated States Department of Health and Social Affairs

Johnny Hadley Jr. is a native of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). He is currently the National Child Protection Coordinator in the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DOHSA). 

He graduated from the University of Hawai’i, Hilo in 1998 with an undergraduate degree in Economics. Mr. Hadley has spent most of his career serving as a public servant at both the National and Pohnpei State Governments since 1998 and was working in the State of Hawai’i Department of Health and Human Services as a Child Welfare program specialist from 2008 to 2012. 

Mr. Hadley is married and has three children, two of whom will be attending the University of Hawai’i Manoa and Hilo campuses starting August of 2021.   


A Global Look at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Core Conversation 2

Farzana NayaniFarzana Nayani (MA Communication, 2006), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist and Author

Farzana Nayani is a recognized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion specialist, coach, and international keynote speaker. She has worked with Fortune 500 corporations, public agencies, higher education institutions, school districts, and non-profit organizations as a consultant and trainer on diversity and inclusion, intercultural communication, supplier diversity, and employee engagement. 

Farzana’s advisory work with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), small business advocacy, and entrepreneurship has taken her to engagements across North America, from the White House to Silicon Valley. Her subject matter expertise on global community relations is recognized in her work with institutions like the Smithsonian and the East-West Center. Farzana’s expertise has been featured in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, DiversityInc, NPR, the Washington Post, Marie Claire, and the LA Times. She is based in Los Angeles, CA with a global upbringing including ties to South and Southeast Asia, and Canada, and is a published author on organizational training and culture.  A frequently requested speaker on DEI, race, unconscious bias, leadership, culture, and identity, Farzana Nayani is committed to helping organizations and individuals lead more effectively and is passionate about cultivating belonging in the workplace and society overall.  Her new book Raising Multiracial Children: Tools for Nurturing Identity in a Racialized World with North Atlantic Books released in 2020 is distributed by Penguin Random House. Connect with Farzana through news and updates by visiting: or via social media channels @farzananayani. 


Martin YangMartin Yang (Asia Pacific Leadership Program, 2015), Founder & Director, China AIDS Walk Fund; Consultant, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at the Columbia University

Martin Yang is the founder and director of China AIDS Walk Fund and consultant to UNDP China, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at the Columbia University, and Wenfeng Foundation.

He has twelve years of experience in research, development, and operations in the nonprofit sector. He has served as program officer at the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute where he initiated All Gender Toilet campaign and co-directed China AIDS Walk, a special assistant to the board chair and senior communication manager at Ai You Foundation, and a program assistant for the Southern China Program of Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Mr. Yang is the 2014-2015 Asia Pacific Leadership Program fellow at the East-West Center, where he initiated the LGBT story project and conducted a five-month field research in Southeast Asia and Greater China to study the ecosystem of LGBT+ communities. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Sun Yat-Sen University.


Saturday, July 17 at 3:00 pm-4:15 pm HST

Pandemics and Planetary Health: Core Conversation 3

James SpencerJames Spencer (Workshop on Social Ecological Factors in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2007; Asian Development Bank Workshop on Urbanization in Asia, 2011; 4th "Engaging with Vietnam - An Interdisciplinary Dialogue" Conference, 2012; Adjunct Fellow), Vice Provost & Dean, Louisiana State University Graduate School; International Urbanization and Planning Specialist

James Nguyen H. Spencer, Ph.D., joined the LSU Graduate School as Vice Provost & Dean and Professor of Geography and Urban & Regional Planning on August 3, 2020. Spencer came from Clemson University, where he was the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities, professor of City & Regional Planning, and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawai’i.

Spencer’s current research focuses on international urbanization and planning issues, with a particular focus on water supplies, infrastructure and inequality, and emerging infectious diseases. He has published over 60 scholarly articles and chapters, and his research has appeared in the Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Landscape and Urban Planning, the Journal of the American Planning Association, Environment and Planning A, the Journal of Urban Health, Economic Development Quarterly, and elsewhere. His 2014 book titled “Global Urbanization: The Global Urban Ecosystem” is a part of the Rowman & Littlefield series on globalization. His second completed book, under contract with Anthem Press, is titled “Planning for Water Security in Southeast Asia: Community based infrastructure during the urban transition.”

His scholarship of engagement has led him to serve on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity, and the Hawai’i State Auditor’s Hawai’i 2050 legislative task force on sustainable development, among other public advisory roles. In 2019, the Prime Minister of Viet Nam’s office awarded Spencer the Bronze Medal in the “Best Regional Plan” category of the Viet Nam Planning Awards for that year for his collaborative leadership with Viet Nam’s Ministry of Construction and the Ha Giang Province Leadership on the master plan titled “Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geo-Park Planning: Ha Giang Province Until 2030.”

Prior to Clemson, Spencer was an associate professor of urban and regional planning and of political science at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and the director of its Globalization Research Center. Before focusing on research and higher education, Jim held staff positions at the Ford Foundation and non-profit organizations working on community development in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, and in 1994 the Asian Wall Street Journal described him as “one of the up and coming young American scholars of Asia.” He holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from UCLA in Urban Planning.


Victoria FanVictoria Fan (10th EWC International Graduate Student Conference, 2011; Adjunct Fellow), Associate Professor of Health Policy and Interim Director, Center on Aging, Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health, University of Hawai’i at Manoa; FXB Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr Victoria Fan is an associate professor of health policy based at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is also an adjunct fellow at the East-West Center, and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development.

She earned her doctor and master of science in global health and population from Harvard School of Public Health and bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work in health economics and health systems has contributed to identifying the health financing transition, landscaping the health workforce in China and India, and assessing payment and incentive mechanisms. She has written papers on aid effectiveness and value for money of development assistance for health. Her work using impact evaluation and economic evaluation in health have assessed the costs and benefits of health interventions and health risks, including social policy, diabetes prevention, dental sealants, end-of-life care, and pandemic influenza. She has been invited as a guest speaker by, or given advice to, multilateral institutions (e.g. UNICEF and WHO) as well as national governments (e.g. China, India, South Korea, Thailand). She has worked with nongovernmental organizations in Asia (BRAC, SEWA, Tzu Chi) and at units at Harvard University (Harvard Initiative for Global Health, Harvard Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University Program for Health Care Financing). She previously served as a consultant for the China Medical Board, World Bank and World Health Organization and on studies supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Misinformation and the Media: Core Conversation 4

Nathan BomeyNathan Bomey (China-US Journalists Exchange, 2012), Reporter, USA Today; Author and Documentary Script Writer on misinformation

Nathan Bomey is a reporter for USA Today, an author and a documentary scriptwriter. At USA Today, he tracks how business is changing, covers the automotive industry and writes about the impact of misinformation on America’s political discourse. ​​​​​

His new book, Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age, ​will be released in May 2021 by Polity Press. In Bridge Builders, he dissects the transformational ways in which countercultural Americans are combatting polarization. Mr. Bomey is also the author of After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump – a book about the misinformation age. Before joining USA Today in 2015, he worked as a business reporter for the Detroit Free Press. That experience culminated in his first book, Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back, which tells the inside story of the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in U.S. history. Mr. Bomey has made many appearances on national TV and radio networks and won several national journalism awards, including the National Headliner Award and honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. A 2006 graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Mr. Bomey participated in the East-West Center’s China-US Journalists Exchange program in 2012. In addition to his day job, he is currently serving as principal scriptwriter on a full length documentary film on the Detroit bankruptcy. Nathan BOMEY, Reporter, USA TODAY and Author, Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age, Washington, DC, USA @NathanBomey


Dilrukshi HandunnettiDilrukshi Handunnetti (Jefferson Fellowship, 2009; International Media Conference, 2016, 2018; South Asia Journalists Dialogue, 2016, 2018)  

Dilrukshi Handunnetti is an international award-winning investigative journalist, foreign correspondent. A lawyer by training, Dilrukshi currently works as the executive director at the Colombo-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR).

She counts 25 years in journalism and law and resigned her job as consultant editor of a national daily/weekly to set up CIR, together with two other colleagues passionate about investigative journalism. Her work has appeared in the UK Guardian, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Humanitarian, and many other international outlets. She currently runs an information literacy program to promote information integrity and Sri Lanka's first initiative in partnership with IFCN and BOOM INDIA to train a group of journalists and fact-checkers towards IFCN certification.