Father Hezel Receives Inaugural Education Award From PREL

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Pacific Resources for Education and Learning Honolulu, Hawai‘i

May 5, 2016

Rev. Francis X. Hezel, SJ, known affectionately as "Father Fran" is the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Education in the Pacific Award, presented by the non-profit Pacific Resources for Education and Learning or PREL.

The award recognizes members of the Pacific community for extraordinary dedication to and support of regional education.

"We are absolutely delighted to present this inaugural award to Father Fran," said PREL President and CEO Nicole Forrester. "His lifelong service and genuine commitment to the people of Micronesia and beyond are an inspiration. His work is an excellent example of what it means to enhance community well-being by building partnerships, which is what PREL strives to do every day."

Father Hezel is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. He has been a high school teacher and then school administrator at Xavier High School, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He has spent 30 years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a Pohnpei-based nonprofit and is a self-taught historian who has focused on social change and its impact on island societies. Father Hezel is also the author of several books on Micronesian history and producer of over 70 video documentaries.

The inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Education in the Pacific Award will be presented to Father Hezel on Wednesday, May 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Outrigger Guam Beach Resort. Friends, colleagues, and members of the public are encouraged to attend to help recognize and celebrate Father Fran. Individual tickets are $150, with table sponsorships beginning at $1,500. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.prel.org or call 1(808) 441-1300. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Pacific Teacher Scholarship Endowment. This event is proudly supported by Matson and First Hawaiian Bank.

PREL is also inviting the public to share their personal stories of how Father Francis has impacted their lives. Comments, stories, photos, and videos may be posted to Facebook with the hashtags #OCEPDinner and #FatherFran. PREL will repost these tributes on its own Facebook page.

About Pacific Resources for Education and Learning

PREL is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance community well-being through partnerships in education. PREL envisions strong schools, healthy communities, and thriving cultures with Pacific hearts and global hearts.

Based in Honolulu, PREL serves the communities of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap, and the Republic of Palau.

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