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Making Connections

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 05/22/2013 More stories >>

Sen. Inouye and the project group.

Sen. Inouye lent the college support with his presence and announcement of the award of a $25 million competitive grant for the Children’s Healthy Living Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region, which partners local communities in Hawai‘i, Alaska, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands to promote children’s healthy diets and active play.

A hallmark of the Senator’s political life was his ability to connect people and groups. As he worked to cement good relations between Democrats and Republicans and between Washington and Hawai‘i, he fostered collaboration in research and education. Programs for which he got funding have forged partnerships with Pacific Island nations, with native peoples in Alaska, and with other researchers in tropical and subtropical areas.

The beneficial impacts of the 30-year Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research (TSTAR) program on agriculture and higher education in the Pacific and Caribbean regions were enormous. In Hawai‘i alone, this USDA-funded initiative provided annual support for 50–60 competitive, peer-reviewed agricultural research projects. From 2005 to 2010, TSTAR projects employed 195 CTAHR students and 130 technical staff. The partnership, which also included Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas, Micronesia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, helped to sustain plant and animal production, increase the variety of high-quality produce for export, strengthen the areas’ agroeconomic base, and mitigate the impact of invasive species. Interim Associate Dean Ken Grace comments, “TSTAR provided a way for us to quickly address agricultural emergencies and to sustain and develop crops and commodities that are essential to Hawai‘i, Florida, and the tropical territories. It also allowed CTAHR faculty to initiate numerous projects that led to subsequent grants from nationally competitive USDA and NSF programs.”

Begun in 1988, the Agriculture Development in the American Pacific project (ADAP) focused on capacity building in the five Pacific land-grant colleges in American Samoa, Micronesia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Hawai‘i. Through ADAP these isolated colleges bought the very first fax machines and computers in their institutions, and theiradoption of the PEACESAT technology increased communication and collaboration within and between the islands, Hawai‘i, and mainland resources. ADAP funded initiatives to improve health, well-being, leadership, accountability, and locally relevant information generation. Larger seed projects like the Paraveterinarian Distance Education Project (with SPC-Fiji and USP-Samoa) and Healthy Living in the Pacific Islands became significant, high-impact regional programs. ADAP program manager Jim Hollyer confirms, “ADAP has had an important impact on regional working relationships, and thus important educational efforts, at these colleges. ADAP’s Board and collaborators have demonstrated visionary regional leadership and have been an engine for steady improvements in the area of agriculture and allied disciplines in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.”