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Sustainability News

View Source | April 26, 2016

Two men in suits shaking handsHonolulu – Leaders from Kamehameha Schools (KS) and Arizona State University (ASU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on April 11 to cooperate and advance education and sustainability.

“This MOU signifies a call to action for both of our organizations. Partnerships such as this also demonstrate our commitment to foster local and global servant leadership and cultural engagement among Native Hawaiians and all learners in Hawaiʻi,” said KS Chief Executive Officer Jack Wong. “We acknowledge that we cannot do this alone, but instead we need to work together with those who share the same goals and whose priorities align with ours, with Hawai‘i’s.”

The partnership with ASU is another step toward KS’ strategic goal of contributing to our communities’ collective efforts to kōkua educational systems throughout Hawai‘i.

“Arizona State University and Kamehameha Schools share a mission to improve the communities around us through education,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This partnership creates pathways for our students to sustain and enrich society -- at a local level and far beyond.”

“This agreement represents the coming together of partners who share a vision for a future of sustainability and wellbeing for all people,” said Gary Dirks, Director of ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “No future can be sustainable if it does not respect and draw from the culture and traditions of the people who will live it. ASU has much to learn from Kamehameha Schools and the Hawaiian people, and we have a lot to offer in return.”

One focus of ASU’s Julie Anne Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is to prepare educators and leaders with a rich understanding of how diverse fields such as humanities, the sciences, design, and policy can be integrated to form a more sustainable society.

Under the MOU, both organizations agree to encourage and promote cooperation in key areas within a portfolio of initiatives. Such areas include research and innovation, long distance learning, philanthropic funding and advancement, student enrollment, persistence and completion. Areas of academic priority include education, sustainability fields and STEM.

One early example of the three-year pilot program will allow KS and ASU to leverage the resources of both educational institutions – ʻāina and innovation – to train Hawai‘i’s teachers to use land-based teaching solutions for sustainability within their indoor and outdoor classrooms. Training is provided through a blend of in-person and online instruction. The first phase of the collaborative effort will include a select group of teachers across the state’s educational grid, from charter schools and Hawaiian language immersion to the Department of Education and Kamehameha’s three campuses.

“Their innovative online training platforms and technology are some of the best in the world in training teachers effectively, and enabling learners with interactive, exploratory learning,” said Kā‘eo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ VP of Community Engagement and Resources. “The ultimate outcome both ASU and KS are striving for is wellbeing. We realize that our goal, to help elevate the wellbeing of Native Hawaiian students and all of Hawaiʻi’s learners and families, cannot be done alone. A lot of the issues we face in Hawaiʻi are shared by other communities and will not always be solved locally. Part of that is looking to strong national thought partners with the platform and tools already in place, that can support the advancement of our Lāhui in this generation,” he added.

ASU is the newest formalized educational partnership for KS, following agreements made with the University of Hawaiʻi and Chaminade University of Honolulu earlier this school year. Each partnership helps solidify KS’ path toward working with others to help improve educational systems in Hawai‘i and to execute as a high-performing Native Hawaiian organization – major goals of its strategic plan, Kūhanauna. These initiatives to collaborate with colleges and universities also help meet key learning milestones that have been determined by mutual priorities of KS and communities statewide, including the nine regions Kamehameha seeks to support and elevate.

U.S. News and World Report ranked ASU number one in the United States in innovation in 2016, ahead of Stanford and MIT. According to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, ASU ranked 1st in the nation for doctoral degrees and 10th in the nation for undergraduate degrees in education awarded to Native Americans last year. ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranks 14th nationally and 7th among public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report.


Photo caption: ASU president Michael M. Crow (with visor) and KS CEO Jack Wong review a new MOU between the two educational institutions. Looking on are ASU and KS leaders, including KS vice president of Strategy and Innovation Lauren Nahme and KS vice president of Community Engagement and Resources Kaʻeo Duarte.

Photo credit: Philamer Batangan, ASU Foundation for a New American University.

About Kamehameha Schools

Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable trust founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Kamehameha Schools operates a statewide educational system enrolling over 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on Oʻahu, Maui and Hawai’i and 30 preschool sites statewide. Over 41,000 additional Hawaiian learners and their caregivers are served each year through a range of other Kamehameha Schools’ outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities. Income generated from its Hawai’i real estate and diversified investment portfolio fund the Schools’ educational mission almost entirely. For more information, visit

About Arizona State University Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of Arizona State University’s sustainability initiatives. The ASU Wrigley Institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs focused on finding practical solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.