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By John Griffin

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (October 15, 2000 - The Honolulu Advertiser)---Two multi-purpose programs on the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa campus are Hawai‘i’s most important links with the Pacific Islands.

One is the UH Center for Pacific Island Studies, headed since 1978 by anthropologist Robert Kiste.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the center, which is part of the umbrella School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies, a branch of the university that deserves more attention and support.

In November, the Pacific Island center will observe its birthday with a conference bringing together scholars and Pacific studies program officials from around the world.

The center focuses on three activities. The first is instruction, mostly master’s degrees. The second is publishing, which includes books, a newsletter, and "The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs." The third is an outreach program that includes conferences, training for school teachers, cooperation with the East-West Center and other Pacific studies programs, and providing information resources for people ranging from students on the Mainland to members of Congress.

The center’s Web site is (http://www.hawaii.edu/cpis).

The other organization is the Pacific Islands Development Program (http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/pidp0001.htm), a part of the East-West Center that performs a variety of functions. In fact, its director, Sitiveni "Steve" Halapua, originally from Tonga, has been in Fiji seeking to facilitate dialogue between factions there.

The development program provides education and training programs for Pacific Islanders, does research, and cooperates with institutions around the region and nation. It also serves as the secretariat for the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, which brings together top officials from a dozen island groups. In addition, the center deals directly with the U.S. State Department as the headquarters for the Joint Commercial Commission, which was established to promote private sector development in the island region.

Last but still important, the program produces what may be the best single source of Pacific Island news on the Internet. This is compiled under the direction of Al Hulsen, a dedicated and veteran journalist.

A few items from this Pacific Island Report are printed in the Asia/Pacific regional news digest in The Advertiser. But there are dozen more, plus links to other Pacific news sources, on the web site (http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/pireport/graphics.htm).  Check it out.

For additional reports from The Honolulu Advertiser, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Honolulu Advertiser.

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