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Aloha from President Wright
with Chatt G. Wright

By all accounts, the third Global Citizenship Symposium held at the Hawai‘i Loa campus was a tremendous success. More than 100 students, faculty, and staff turned out on a Saturday morning to be part of Hawai‘i Pacific’s ongoing conversation about what it means to be a global citizen.


This conversation began a few years ago when we were revising the University’s mission statement. We have understood for a long time that something unique happens to students who come to Hawai‘i Pacific to join our international learning community. Their contact with people from around the world changes them in many ways, preparing them to be active members of a global society. This raised a number of questions: How do we define global citizenship? What’s a global citizen? How do answers to these questions vary depending on your academic major or country of origin? We felt that this was such an important subject that we made the search for answers to these questions one of the University’s strategic priorities.

Rather than form a committee to define global citizenship at HPU, we put these questions in the hands of students by organizing the first Global Citizenship Symposium in fall 2003. Two symposia later, the students who attended October’s meeting represented the kind of diversity that makes HPU a wonderful place to work and study. The richness of this student-centered process has emerged from the different perspectives people bring to the conversation. A business major from Hong Kong might consider the most important thing about being a global citizen to be the ability to work effectively in a variety of cultural situations and languages to promote free enterprise. An environmental studies major from Hilo could be more concerned with the impact an individual has on the world’s limited resources. An anthropology major from Boston might ask what role a global citizen can play as a non-native working with the Native Hawaiian community.

Previous symposia were self-contained events. The third symposium was different because it functioned as a kick-off event for long-term projects that students can engage in throughout their time at HPU. As they develop their own definition of global citizenship through curricular and co-curricular activities, they will have a chance to create something tangible--plays, stories, works of art--that they can take away with them when they graduate.

Thanks to all who helped plan and lead the third Global Citizenship Symposium. Your efforts are helping to turn an idea into an HPU tradition.

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
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