Kahului, HI—May 14, 2014—The Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program recently completed its seventh year and is now seeking applicants for the 2014-15 session. A Decisions Maui and Focus Maui Nui initiative, the program is a yearlong endeavor designed to promote and train community-identified future leaders of Maui County, and is coordinated by UHMC’s Office of Continuing Education & Training.

Since it began seven years ago, 85 fellows have completed the program, including 11 graduates who were honored during a commencement ceremony held on Wednesday, May 7, at the Kahili Golf Course in Waikapu. Members of the Ka Ipu Kukui Class of 2014 include Charles Yeaman, Candace Thackerson, Akili Jones, Alison Cohan, Adam Radford, Nicole Nanea Spalding, Susan Clements, Sonya Niess, Ali Martin, Jennifer Chirico, and Jordan Molina. A number of business representatives, program supporters and community leaders attended the graduation ceremony, including Hawai‘i State Sen. Roslyn Baker, Joe Pontanilla, and Maui County Council members Gladys Baisa, Don Couch, Elle Cochran, and Stacy Crivello.

“There is no magic wand to wave that will give us the answers for all the challenges that face Maui,” said Class of 2014 Fellow Candace Thackerson. “Being a leader is not only about finding solutions, but also about compromise and understanding. An effective leader must first listen to the wide range of voices within the community, truly understand their concerns and then use all the information they have available to create the best solution possible for Maui’s future.”

“Ka ipu kukui” means “crucible of light; a test and a furnace for seeking and taking the best path ahead.” In response to concerns first expressed by Decisions Maui in the 1980s and reinforced by the 2003 Focus Maui Nui visioning process, the program was conceived to develop leaders through a community-based curriculum designed to address all aspects of planning for Maui Nui’s future.

“We won’t understand or realize the profound effects that Ka Ipu Kukui has had on Maui until the concepts we’ve learned start to become evident in our everyday life,” said Class of 2010 Fellow Kainoa Horcajo. “That’s when we’ll know that we have helped shape the future of Maui.”

Topics such as sustainability, water, energy, tourism, food sustainability and governance represent just a few of the issues in which participants will be actively engaged. Fellows will be required to participate in activities scheduled for two to three days each month, including overnight trips to neighbor islands. Between 12 and 16 Fellows will be selected through a competitive process conducted by the Ka Ipu Kukui Steering Committee.

“I am so proud and humbled by what our Fellows have accomplished; when we take a look around, many of our Fellows are involved in boards and committees—getting engaged and giving back to our community,” said Ka Ipu Kukui Steering Committee Member and Coordinator Dr. Lori Teragawachi, who is also the Director of the Office of Continuing Education and Training at UH Maui College.

Now Accepting Applications for 2014-15. The deadline to apply for the upcoming year is Friday, June 27. For more information or to nominate a candidate, contact Dr. Lori Teragawachi at (808) 984-3406 or visit www.maui.hawaii.edu/kaipukukui.

Names of the 2014 Fellows (as pictured in group photo):

Back Row-Jordan Molina, Ali Martin, Candace Thackerson, Chuck Yeaman, Adam Radford, Akili Jones - Front Row-Sonya Niess, Nicole Nanea Spalding, Jennifer Chirico, Alison Cohan, Susan Clements

Back Row: Jordan Molina, Ali Martin, Candace Thackerson, Chuck Yeaman, Adam Radford, Akili Jones

Front Row: Sonya Niess, Nicole Nanea Spalding, Jennifer Chirico, Alison Cohan, Susan Clements

Photo Credits: Marc Antosch