ABOUT PACIFIC EARTH INSTITUTE
The Pacific Earth Institute (PEI) sprang into existence in the wake of U.S. withdrawal from all international climate and disarmament agreements. This leaves peoples of the Asia-Pacific in a very precarious situation, because islands are vulnerable to both rising seas and geopolitical territorialism (military base construction).
Based in Hawaii, the PEI seeks to use media, culture and education to unite the region as
a political force for climate justice, and for peace in the sea, on the Earth, and in the heavens.
PEI is fiscally sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization.
Koohan Paik-Mander, Coordinator. Raised in Korea and Guam, Koohan currently lives on Hawaii Island, while serving as Development Director at the Kauai-based Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA). Before joining HAPA, she served as Coordinator of the Asia-Pacific program at the International Forum on Globalization. There, she played a key role in coordinating the "teach-in" symposia "Moana Nui 2011" and "Moana Nui 2013." The teach-ins presented scholars, activists, policy analysts, lawyers, labor union leaders, cultural practitioners, and artists from 30 Pacific Rim and Pacific Island nations who argued against APEC and TPP, as well as ongoing militarism and colonialism in the Pacific, environmental devastation, and on behalf of indigenous rights. Koohan has also written extensively about the social and environmental impacts of militarism in the Pacific. Recent articles have appeared in Common Dreams, The Nation, alternet and the Progressive.
She is also co-author of the book The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth (2008), with Jerry Mander.
While living on Kauai in the early 2000s, Koohan taught digital filmmaking at Kauai Community College, and curated an island-wide student film festival which was the first-ever to feature a category for films in 'oleo Hawai'i (Hawaiian language). She also lived and worked with Kauai's Ni'ihau community, teaching media literacy.
In 2009, Koohan returned to Guam to help jump-start resistance to the enormous military-buildup slated for the tiny island. There, she helped start the long-running KPRG radio series on militarism issues, "Beyond the Fence," and produced several internet videos for the cause. In addition, she penned the first comprehensive information sheet on the impacts of the massive Marianas military build-up.
Ana Kaho’opi’i, Board Member, is a veteran medical professional and kumu hula. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with a minor in psychology. Her medical career spans across nursing, public health, anger management, hospice and home health care.
Ana’s hula roots and political activism go back generations. She began serious study of hula in her twenties, performed extensively in North America, and then went onto train with her ‘ohana in South Kona on Hawaii Island. In 2007, she graduated as a kumu.
While Ana’s cultural practice is a vehicle for the beauty and poetry of hula, it is also a powerful medium for the expression of conscious resistance. For Ana, resistance rooted in cultural practice reclaims collective self-respect of a people, while infusing activism work with spirituality. It has been the synergy of cultural and political activism that has led to Ana’s involvement in many powerful community movements.
Tawn Keeney MD, Board Member, is retired from general practice of medicine for 36 years on Hawaii Island in Honokaa, first as plantation doctor for Hamakua Sugar and then as physician for Hamakua Health Center.
He was raised in Kansas where he attended the University of Kansas, majoring in Philosophy. Following medical school, he came to Hawaii for residency at Queens Hospital. After 'backpacking' the islands for 6 months he settled in Honokaa in 1977.
He operated the Honokaa People's Theatre starting in 1986, then purchased the building and began renovations in 1991 after the passing of the owner, Peggy Tanimoto. In his retirement from medical practice he cooks popcorn and manages the theatre. He has two wonderful daughters, Phaethon and Evianne. He feels most fortunate to have spent most of his life living in, and serving the wonderful people of Honokaa and Hamakua.