HONOLULU — The Obama Foundation is launching an Asia-Pacific leadership program with a series of workshops in Hawaii for 22 emerging leaders.
The leaders selected for the conference being held on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa this week come from 16 countries and territories, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.
The workshops follow a pledge by President Barack Obama in 2015 to ensure Hawaii plays a role in his post-presidency work after Chicago was selected to house his presidential library and center.
“His overarching reason for wanting to do this program here is really emphasizing Hawaii is like a home to him. He has roots here. He has ties here. He thinks it’s a wonderful place,” said Bernadette Meehan, chief international officer of the Obama Foundation. “He thinks the community has a lot to offer, especially as the foundation was thinking about Asia-Pacific programming.”
The foundation launched a leadership program in Africa last year that brought 200 leaders together for an ongoing training initiative. The conference in Hawaii plans to develop a similar program for the region.
The leaders chosen for the program include two people from Hawaii, Marvin Kaleo Manuel and Leanne Kealoha Fox. Manuel is a planning manager at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Fox works as an executive manager at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The conference will include leadership training sessions, as well as a meeting with the former president to discuss ideas for the program.
“The president and Mrs. Obama really feel like one of the greatest things they can do as private citizens is taking the focus off of themselves and what they did during the administration and really using their spotlight to highlight the next generation of leaders coming up behind them,” Meehan said.
Obama will deliver remarks during a private event to conclude the conference Sunday.