Twenty-one students and two faculty members from the University of Hawai`i at Hilo have been selected to take part in a nine-day, fully-funded trip to Japan this month as part of the Tomodachi Inouye Scholars program sponsored by the United States-Japan Council.

The Tomodachi Inouye Scholars program, created to honor the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, provides UH Hilo students the opportunity to spend Spring Break (March 19-27) in Japan to interact with their peers and share their Hawaiian language and culture. The UH Hilo contingent will visit historic and cultural sites in Tokyo and Hokkaido and participate in activities with students from Hokkaido University and Sapporo University.

The students’ fluency in Hawaiian language and culture is a manifestation of and tribute to Inouye's commitment and contributions to perpetuate indigenous cultures and languages in the U.S. UH Hilo students include: Autumn Chong, Ursula Chong, Sophie Dolera, Dane Dudoit, Alexander Guerrero, Pomaika`i Iaea, Bridgette Ige, Micah Kealaiki, Kekaikaneolaho`ikeikonamanakalena Lindsey, Kawehi Lopez, Alohilani Maiava, Ashley Martin-Kalamau, Kelly Martin-Young, Noelle Miller, Isaac Pang, Pomaikai Ravey, Koa Rodrigues, Eric Taaca, Victoria Taylor, Tema`uonuhuhiva Teikitekahioho-Wolff, and Abcde Zoller.

They will be joined by faculty members Yumiko Ohara and Kekoa Harman from Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language. The Tomodachi Inouye Scholars program is open to undergraduate students at UH Hilo who speak, read, and write in Hawaiian, are able to participate fully in the scholars program, and once selected, speak and perform a hula or mele in Hawaiian.

For additional information, call the Center for Global Education and Exchange at 932-7489.