Maui’s Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program recently completed its sixth year and is now seeking applicants for the 2013-14 session, including applicants from Molokai to be tomorrow’s leaders of Maui County.
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.
Since it began six years ago, 74 fellows have completed the program, including 16 graduates who were honored during a commencement ceremony held May 7 at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.
“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 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program was conceived to develop leaders through a community-based curriculum specifically designed to address all aspects of planning for Maui Nui’s future.
“Over the years, we have incorporated input and suggestions from many of the fellows to expand and innovate the program,” said Dr. Lori Teragawachi, director of the program. “We have also expanded our reach to encourage participants from Lanai and Molokai.”
“The County of Maui has supported the program with funding to assist fellows from Molokai and Lanai, and it will no doubt have a profound impact,” said Marc Antosch, a Fellow himself who now promotes the program.
Topics such as 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.
“We all know that Maui Nui is a very special place,” said Scott Nunokawa, a steering committee member. “But we also know there are a number of challenges that threaten the unique splendor of these islands, which is why this is such a vital program.”
Steering committee members include Nunokawa, Clyde Sakamoto, Jeanne Skog, Roselle Bailey, Scott Fisher, Jordan Hart, Lori Teragawachi, Stanley Okamoto, Ken Ota, Lianne Yoshida, Kalani Ho-Nikaido, Yarrow Flower, Rhiannon Chandler, Troy Hashimoto and Sarah McLane.
The deadline to apply for the upcoming year is Friday, June 14. For more information or to nominate a candidate, contact Dr. Lori Teragawachi at (808) 984-3406 or visit www.maui.hawaii.edu/kaipukukui.