2024 Year-End Student Showcase Recap

Saturday, May 4, 2024

PAAC's Year of ImPAACt 
Student Showcase 2024

The PAAC annual event was a testament to the organization's commitment to nurturing global citizens and fostering leadership among Hawaiʻi's youth. Here's a recap of the highlights and a glimpse into the exciting initiatives planned for the future.


Keynote Address by Ryan Berney:

We were honored to have the opportunity to speak with Ryan Berney, a distinguished civil servant with the United States Department of State. He shared his journey from a struggling student to a global advocate for democracy and human rights. Born and raised in Kaimuki and a graduate of Kalani High School and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Berney's personal story resonated with the audience, highlighting the importance of perseverance and finding one's purpose.
Berney emphasized the significance of embracing multiple perspectives, noting that every issue has diverse viewpoints to consider. His insights underscored the core value of PAAC programs: fostering curiosity and critical thinking among students. Berney's career trajectory, from local challenges to international diplomacy, served as a testament to the transformative power of education and engagement with global issues.
Following his address, Berney engaged with the audience in a stimulating question-and-answer session, further illuminating the complexities of his work and the broader implications for global citizenship.


Academic Awards: Honda and Tangen Awards:

This year's Academic Awards segment was a celebration of academic excellence and leadership, recognizing the dedication and achievements of our outstanding students. 
A total of $4,300 in scholarships and awards were present to our best and brightest, honoring their commitment to Asian Studies, International Affairs, and global citizenship.
The presentation of certificates signed by state legislators Representative Kirstin Kahaloa and Representative Amy Perruso added a special touch to the ceremony, recognizing the legislative support for our student's accomplishments.

The Paul S. Honda Scholarship Recipients:

The late Paul S. Honda, a distinguished member of PAAC’s Senior Advisory Council, established an endowment for this scholarship fund to promote Asian Studies and International Studies in higher education. 
Read more about each recipient here.
  • Eric Pōmaikaʻi Gee, Kealakehe High School, received a certificate from the offices state legislative offices of Representative Lowen & Senator Kanuha. 

  • Claire Masquida, Kealakehe High School, received a certificate from the offices state legislative offices of Representative Lowen & Senator Kanuha

  • Lisa Mauricio, Konawaena High School, received a certificate from the offices state legislative offices of  Representative Kahaloa & Senator Kanuha

  • Raegan Hunt, Hawaiʻi Technology Academy received a certificate from the offices state legislative offices of Representative Lamosao and Senator Aquino.


The Eddie Tangen Award Recipient:

The Eddie Tangen Award, honoring a student in grades 9-11 for their interest in international affairs and active involvement in PAAC, was presented to an exemplary leader who has shown initiative and innovation in their role.
  • Isabella Na, Hawaii Technology Academy, received a certificate from the state legislative offices of  Representative Lamosao and Senator Aquino (read about Isabella here)
We extend our heartfelt gratitude, mahalo nui, to all who contributed to the success of
our Academic Awards segment.


Year in Review:

As we reflect on the past year, it becomes evident that PAAC's commitment to developing globally-minded citizens has yielded remarkable outcomes. Our programs have served as a catalyst for nurturing students who are not only curious about the world but also actively engaged in addressing its challenges.

Fostering Global Citizenship:

At the heart of PAAC's mission lies the goal of cultivating students with a deep understanding of what it means to be global citizens, particularly from the unique perspective of Hawaii. Our approach emphasizes the importance of collective well-being and encourages students to adopt a global lens characterized by reflection, curiosity, and empathy.

Systems Thinking for an Interconnected World:

One of the ways we've pursued this goal is through an exploration of global issues within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By understanding the interconnected nature of these goals, students are equipped with the tools to think critically about complex issues and drive meaningful change within their communities and beyond. (Check out our Sustainable Develop Goals Curriculum Suite here)

Investment in Leadership:

This year, we made significant investments in nurturing leadership among our club officers. Through initiatives like our Leadership Education and Development program (LEAD) which brought together 45 students from across the state for the two nights, three day, LEAD Summit in the fall, and the one-day LEAD workshop in the spring. We provided students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills, connect with their peers, and engage with the global community. These efforts laid the groundwork for a cohort of empowered and thoughtful leaders poised to make a difference.

Interschool Summits:

Our students had the opportunity to participate in two interschool summits that challenged them to tackle real-world issues with diplomacy and innovation. At our Global Vision Summit on Nuclear Diplomacy, students sought to bring a resolution to a bubbling crisis in East Asia. Students were able to work through a multilateral diplomatic negotiation process and learned about this very critical global issue. (Full event recap here)
Due to work on nuclear non-proliferation and the amazing ecosystem of diplomats we have access to, we were invited by the US. Department of State to have two students make remarks at 15th  Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Inter-sessional Meeting on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. Vivienne Hill and Gage Bassett stepped up to this challenge and prepared profound remarks for this Track 1 dialogue. Their fellow panelists were the Consul-General of New Zealand in Hawaiʻi, Mike Ketchen, and the Secretary of State of Cambodia, H.E. Mrs. Yentieng Puthirasmey. Not many high school students OR adults can say they spoke at a Track 1 dialogue to a group of 30 + delegates! Mahalo Tony Greubel, East-West Center Diplomatic Fellow, for including our students in this conversation!
From simulating multilateral negotiations on nuclear non-proliferation to delivering remarks at high-level diplomatic meetings, our students demonstrated remarkable poise and insight, earning recognition on both local and international stages.

Academic WorldQuest Competition:

The Academic WorldQuest (AWQ) Competition brought together over 140 students from across three islands, fostering friendly competition and intellectual engagement on pressing global issues. Congratulations to Kealakehe High School's Justin Brown Fan Club for their victory and to all participants for their dedication and enthusiasm. (Check out our AWQ recap here
As we look ahead, we are inspired by the accomplishments of our students and the impact of our programs. PAAC remains committed to nurturing the next generation of global leaders and fostering a culture of curiosity, collaboration, and compassion. Together, we will continue to shape a brighter future for our world.


Distinguished Clubs:

Throughout the year, PAAC clubs have played a pivotal role in promoting engagement, learning, and action within our community. The Distinguished Club Awards recognize the exceptional commitment and achievements of clubs that have not only met their goals but have also demonstrated a profound dedication to learning and living the values of the UNSDGs.
As we celebrate the achievements of our Gold status clubs, we also extend our appreciation to all Silver and Bronze status clubs for their passion, dedication, and contributions to our community. Together, we continue to inspire and empower the next generation of global leaders. 


Study Tours:

PAAC's summer study tours offer students invaluable opportunities to explore new cultures, expand their horizons, and foster meaningful connections across borders. This year, we are thrilled to announce two exciting study tours: the Freeman Summer Study Tour to Japan and the Media & Journalism Study Tour to Manila, Philippines.

Freeman Summer Study Tour to Japan:

Under the theme "Creating Connections Across Generations," 20 students from 12 schools across four islands will embark on a journey through Tokyo, Kyoto, Himeiji, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka. This trip wouldn't have been possible without the generous support of The Freeman Foundation for providing merit- and need-based scholarships to most student travelers. Special thanks also to Ray Tsuchiyama, PAAC Board Governor and a proud Farrington High School PAAC alum. We extend our gratitude to all students, chaperones Rosa Bell (Campbell High School PAAC Club Advisor) and Shiloh Francis (Hawaiʻi Technology Academy - Waipahu PAAC Club Advisor), and supporters, including those from our neighbor islands, for their dedication and enthusiasm.

Media & Journalism Study Tour to Manila, Philippines:

In partnership with the East-West Center, students will participate in the International Media Conference alongside journalists, policymakers, and thought leaders from around the world. Thanks to the support of The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation and the State of Hawaiʻi Grant-in-Aid program, most student travelers will receive financial assistance. We commend Susan Kreifels and the team at the East-West Center for making this opportunity possible. Special recognition goes to Elizabeth Shiraki, PAAC club advisor at Farrington High School, who will serve as a chaperone for the trip.
As our students embark on these transformative journeys, we express our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has contributed to their success. Your support empowers our students to become global citizens and changemakers in their communities.
And for those who haven't yet experienced a PAAC Freeman Summer Study Tour, mark your calendars for our upcoming trip to Vietnam in 2025! We look forward to another exciting adventure next year. 



Inspiration for the Year Ahead:

As we reflect on the successes of this year, we are eager to share our vision for the future and the exciting initiatives we have planned for academic year 2024-2025.

Leadership Development:

Recognizing the importance of leadership in shaping the future, we are committed to further enhancing our leadership programs for students. Next year, we will host our LEAD Summit during the DOE fall break at Camp Erdman on the Northshore, providing students with a transformative three-night, four-day experience.

Digital Connectivity:

To foster greater connectivity and collaboration, we will expand our digital convenings, enabling students to engage with peers and experts from around the world. This initiative will complement our efforts to fly officers in for our events, ensuring meaningful connections both locally and globally.

Global Issues Certificate:

In partnership with Chaminade University's UN CiFAL center, we will launch an enhanced Global Issues Certificate, offering students international accreditation and recognition. This certificate will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of global challenges and solutions, empowering them to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

Teacher Support and Curriculum Development:

We remain dedicated to supporting teachers through our summer retreat and the development of creative lesson plans. These resources will enrich the club journey, inspiring students to explore global issues and develop critical thinking skills. (Check out our 2023 Teacher Retreat recap here)

Academic WorldQuest Coaching Program:

Our commitment to academic excellence continues with the continuation of our Coaching Program for the Academic WorldQuest Competition. Through mentorship and guidance, we will empower students to excel in this prestigious competition.

Country Focus:

In the upcoming year, our country theme will be Vietnam. Through club visits and new UNSDG lessons aligned with our country of focus, students will deepen their understanding of Vietnam's culture, history, and contributions to the global community.
We are excited to embark on this journey of growth and innovation, cultivating the next generation of globally informed leaders from Hawaii. Together, we will continue to inspire, educate, and empower students to create positive change in the world.



Joined by PAAC Alumni, PAAC Board members, and community supporters we end our time together with great food and networking. Club officers reconnected. Advisors mingled. Alumni shared their experiences and the food was ʻono!
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated volunteers who support our programs and contribute to the success of our students. From our Academic WorldQuest coaches and alumni to the faculty and staff from institutions such as the East-West Center, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's International Affairs and Asian Studies Departments, The Matsunaga Institute, the Conflict and Peace Specialist, Jose Barzola,  and Better Tomorrow Speakers Series your unwavering commitment is truly appreciated.
Special thanks to the countless others who generously give their time, expertise, and support to enrich the learning journey of our students. Your contributions make a significant difference and help us fulfill our mission of developing globally engaged citizens.