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Lessons learned


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Maui’s Tulip Hori, a senior at Seabury Hall, and Tasanee Cogliandro, a junior at Kīhei Public Charter High School, just had career-impactful summers. Hori and Cogliandro were two of 30 Hawaiʻi high schools students who made up the inaugural cohort of the Academy for Hawaiʻi Intelligence Studies Summer Program (AHI-SP), a four-week course offered through the CSS Department of Political Science.

Both were chosen by their classmates to serve as speakers at AHI-SP’s program completion ceremony on July 28 on the UH Mānoa campus. Here are excerpts from their remarks.

Tulip Hori

I am so grateful to be part of this summer course. It has put me on track to figuring out my career, and how I can be involved in a future where I’d be proud to live. Whether it was the pursuit of a passion, an encouraged suggestion or a leap of faith into trying something new, all of us applied for this class for different reasons. But we all walked away with our own lessons learned.

On the surface, this class taught us the basic fundamentals of the international system. But, in truth, we were taught how to think. We learned to imagine, to wonder, to ask those momentarily bizarre questions about the world and its policies, to look at global issues inside and out, back to front, from any angle we could imagine. We learned that networks link everyone together through our economics, our policies, how we handle climate change, and the way militaries are run, down to even our distinct cultures, the morals we value, and the ways we talk to one another.

Throughout the course we were blessed with the ability to meet speakers like Lt. Col. Nathan Finney, who works at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Kyle Kajihiro, who teaches Ethnic Studies at the College of Social Sciences; Camille P. Dawson, the deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; and our teacher, Dr. Jairus Grove, an international relations and political affairs wizard who constantly bestowed his wisdom on us. What an honor and privilege it was to sit in the same room with these remarkable individuals.

This class provided a window for Hawaiʻi’s youth to move into the conversation surrounding Hawaiʻi’s future, and open the door to endless opportunities through internships and valuable connections. It opened our eyes to see that we can have a seat at the table – shaping what Hawaiʻi will become, to possibly determine the policies we abide by, and choose what we want for the land and people we love.

What a beautiful thing it is to let people from Hawaiʻi have power in connecting Hawaiʻi to the world, especially if those people are the youth who aspire to lead the next generation. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much to all who were involved in making this program possible.

Tasanee Cogliandro

For those of us interested in national security and international relations, this was a dream opportunity. It was an invaluable education that will help us throughout our lives, and is an experience that we will all look back on and remember fondly.

The best part of the program was the ability to connect with a group of people with similar interests. For me personally, it was really hard to find. So this experience of meeting others with the same passion for this kind of work was surreal and exciting.

I speak for everyone in the AHI program in thanking Professor Jairus Grove. Since the first class, he has been direct, earnest and engaging in every subject matter, whether it was about explaining the nation state or giving an impromptu lecture on the intricacies of quantum physics. Over the course of the program, Professor Grove has inspired and encouraged me to think about the kind of person I want to be now and in the future.

The program brought a shift in perspective for us. What we’ve learned has changed and affected our worldview; the way we understand international politics; and the concerns, struggles and breakthroughs of our nation in general. We all leave this program with a more open mind and a broad understanding of the track of history.

Thank you to everyone who shared their knowledge and experience with us, and to all who made this opportunity possible.

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Two young women
Tulip Hori and Tasanee Cogliandro. Sara Saastamoinen photo