Honolulu Hosts Student Leaders

Participants of 2010’s Student Global Leadership Institute.

Photo: Courtesy Punahou School

You’ve certainly heard that Honolulu will host APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, this November. There’s another meeting of movers and shakers coming to town this summer. Punahou’s Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) is an international program that brings students from around the world to Hawaii for a two-week-long meeting on a topic of global interest.

This year, 48 students will learn, work, and study energy on the Punahou Campus from July 25 to August 5, while residing at University of Hawaii at Manoa dorms. Students attend energy themed lectures and fieldtrips, and build relationships and leadership skills. They’ll use the knowledge they gain from the experience to establish a yearlong project that will better their countries’ energy shortfalls.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu addressing the students of SGLI via Skype July 26, 2011.

Photo: Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

“Before the students get here they already have a good idea of what the energy gaps are in their home countries. They know what questions and what problems they can address and will shape their projects around these problems,” says Chai Reddy, SGLI’s coordinator and a Punahou School teacher. “It’s beyond the classroom, requiring global and city participation. The students try to be leaders in their communities in implementing these ideas.”

Punahou graduate Daniel Dangaran participated in the program last year. He says the most challenging part of his SGLI experience was trying to perfect his group project. “We had six people in our group and we were all strong leaders. It was hard not to make it a competition, but I think in a way we ended up competing with ourselves, making that project the best it could possibly be.” Dangaran and his team developed rain barrels for Honolulu Habitat for Humanity that have now become a standard feature in all homes built by the Hawaii organization.

SGLI Students discuss energy with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu via Skype July 26, 2011.

Photo: Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

This year, SGLI includes students from 15 schools in China, Japan, Singapore, Jordan and the U.S. “Last year we had 28 students, this year 48. Our hope is that each school year it will grow,” says Reddy. The students will have a Skype session with U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. They will take fieldtrips to Reppun Farm in Waiahole, the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, and Kahuku Wind Farm. SGLI students will attend a screening of Carbon Nation, a 2010 documentary about climate change. The film will be preceded by a panel discussion with Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and other guest speakers. The screening is also open to the public.

The Student Global Leadership Institute at Punahou School is made possible by generous grants from The Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Educational Research Initiative (a partnership of Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft), with additional support from the Freeman Foundation and the Luke Center for Chinese Studies. For more information on the program, or screening visit punahou.edu.