Maui News

Kuleana Academy Leadership Training Program Begins

January 13, 2016, 2:45 PM HST
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HAPA's Kuleana Academy Leadership and Candidate Training Program courtesy photo.

HAPA’s Kuleana Academy Leadership and Candidate Training Program courtesy photo.

The Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and its Education Alliance Partners began the Kuleana Academy Leadership and Candidate Training Program last weekend, Jan. 9 and 10.

Twenty-four participants from Maui, Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i gathered in Honolulu to begin the five-month leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program for the state’s emerging leaders.

Kuleana Academy is a leadership development program designed to educate and train emerging leaders who have a desire to serve in public office.

The non-partisan program will give the participants a well-rounded introduction to critical issues in Hawai‘i, leadership skills training and base knowledge of the ins-and-outs of campaigning.

Training topics included:


Personal leadership development led by Mason Chock, former executive director of Leadership Kaua‘i, county council member and president of Kupu A’e, an experiential education company specializing in cultural placed-based learning, team building and leadership development.


Introduction to the governmental and law-making process led by Gary Gill, former Honolulu City council member, formerly environmental deputy of the state Department of Health and head of the Hawai‘i Office of Environmental Quality Control.

Media/press training led by Dawn Morais Webster, PhD, media and communications consultant and adjunct faculty member at Shidler School of Business, UH Mānoa.

Public speaking and speech training led by John Bickel, former press secretary for U. Rep. Patsy Mink, and award winning speech and debate coach.


The participants were also addressed by former Hawai`i Gov. John Waihe‘e; Sen. Will Espero, vice president of the Hawai‘i Senate; and Keiko Bonk, former Hawai‘i County council member and candidate for House of Representatives, who talked about their experiences in government and running for public office.

“We are excited to be able to provide this kind of education to a diverse group of civic-minded emerging leaders from across Hawai‘i,” said Program Director Aria Juliet Castillo.

HAPA and the Alliance Education Partners take no position with regard to the support or opposition for any specific candidate, regardless of whether or not they participated in the academy.

The Academy is modeled after similar programs sponsored by 501(c)(3) organizations.

For more information, go online

HAPA is hosting the program in partnership with other leading public interest organizations, including Kuleana Academy Education Alliance Partners: Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawaiʻi Americans For Democratic Action, Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Hawai‘i Center for Food Safety, Hawaiʻi Peopleʻs Fund, Hawaiʻi SEED, Hawaiʻi’s Thousand Friends, KAHEA, Life of the Land, Maui Tomorrow and UNITE HERE! Local 5.

HAPA is a public nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. HAPA’s mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing ʻāina (environment) and people ahead of corporate profit.

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