East-West Center Oral History Project: George Ariyoshi

George Ariyoshi

George Ariyoshi, Hawaii’s governor from 1974 to 1986, served on the EWC Board of Governors from 1995-2003, including 6 years as Board Chair when he worked successfully with President Charles Morrison to regenerate connections between the Center and its alumni and other constituencies. Governor Ariyoshi most recently expressed his passionate support of EWC in a speech at the January 2010 dinner celebrating EWC's 50th anniversary.  As governor in 1975,  Ariyoshi brought before the state Legislature and signed into law, the bill establishing an educational non-profit public corporation to administer and operate the EWC, removing it from  University of Hawai'i administration. In 1980, he was active in the formation of the first Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders which spawned EWC’s Pacific Islands Development Program. He rose to become an influential figure in the Asia Pacific region, as President of the Pacific Basin Development Council and founder of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research. Later in his career, he joined the law firm of Watanabe, Ing, and Komeiji, specializing in international, Hawaii and U.S. business consulting.


Read Ariyoshi's interview narrative (pdf)


  • Personal Background - Statehood Strategy - Getting into Politics
  • Establishing the EWC - East-West Center Incorporation, 1975 - Board of Governors
  • Life at EWC - Reduction-in-Force/Reorganization Mid’90s - Selecting a New President - Board of Governors - Programs and Priorities - East-West Center in Washington - EWCA Represented on Board - Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP)
  • Initiatives as Governor of Hawai‘i - Western Governors' Association - Establishing PICHTR
  • Life After EWC - Involvement in the Region - Future for EWC
  • EWC’s Impact


Interview Quotes


[In response to the question "How would you like the East-West Center to remember you?"]


"That I cared very much about the Center.  That I felt very strongly about its mission -- people coming together and learning from each other, yet being able to retain their own identity, and not expecting someone to change and lose their own identity.  I think that's what the Center is all about.  That's my life.  That's what I believe in very strongly in everything that I do."


These narratives, which reflect interviewees’ personal perceptions, opinions and memories, may contain errors of fact. They do not reflect positions or versions of history officially approved by the East-West Center.