National Humanities Conference


Every year, the Federation of State Humanities Councils co-hosts the National Humanities Conference with the National Humanities Alliance. Humanities Guåhan and the 55 other state/territorial humanities councils throughout the U.S. belong to the FSHC, which provides leadership, advocacy and information to best advance civic and cultural programs across our diverse communities. We're looking forward to 2020's National Humanities Conference in Indianapolis, which will be hosted by Indiana Humanities!

In 2019, the conference was held in Honolulu from November 7-10 with the theme of Roots (indigenous knowledge and traditions, cultural identity and practices) and Routes (navigation and seafaring, new movement, including migration). Our organization, along with the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, American Samoa Humanities Council and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council, served as conference co-hosts.

This was the first time in the Federation’s history that the national conference was held outside of the continental US, and we were very excited to share the rich and diverse histories and cultures of the Pacific Islands region with conference participants and the local Hawai’i community! 

We were especially proud to serve as presenters and panelists for the 2019 conference events below:

2019 National Humanities Conference

Roots & Routes: Navigation, Migration, and Exchange in the 21st Century

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Welcome and Opening Ceremonies from the Pacific Islands Humanities Councils
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa 2
For the first time in history, the National Humanities Conference is being held outside the continental US and cohosted by multiple humanities councils. The plenary will begin with a Native Hawaiian chant and introduction to the ‘aina of Waikiki, introducing attendees to the geography and history of Hawai‘i through Native Hawaiian language and protocol. Next, each Pacific Islands cohost council – Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guahan, and the Northern Mariana Islands – will offer opening remarks highlighting their communities, histories, and connections to each other with music, a poem-film, and awa/kava ceremony – a commitment to respectful and deep conversation in the days ahead. We look forward to welcoming you!

Panelists: Aiko Yamashiro, Hawai'i Council for the Humanities; Tauaisafune Niualama Taifane, Amerika Samoa Humanities Council; Kimberlee Kihleng, Humanities Guåhan; Leo Pangelinan, Northern Marianas Humanities Council

Friday, November 8, 2019

Offsite Session - Returning to Our Roots ** WAITLIST ONLY
12:00 PM-4:00 PM
Ho'oulu 'Āina Nature Preserve
Presented by Humanities Guåhan & The Returning to Our Roots Program, Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV)
This experiential session "Returning to Our Roots: Cultivating Place and Community through the Power of Food" will take participants to the Ho'oulu 'Āina Nature Preserve to explore how the “Returning to Our Roots” program in Kalihi Valley, O‘ahu engages and supports residents – many of whom are immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands region – to create a sense of place and community through growing, preparing, and sharing food. Through an immersive garden tour, a workshop on local food, and a farm-to-table lunch and discussion, Humanities Guåhan and the Roots program will stimulate thinking on the important connections between food, health, culture, and the environment along with the ways in which these “grow” democracy in this community and beyond.
NOTE: There is a 15 minute walk from the bus drop off location to the community garden. Participants are strongly encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and warm-weather clothing. Lunch will be provided and is included in the tour cost.

Panelists: Bernice Santiago, Humanities Guåhan; Nedine Songeni, Humanities Guåhan; Keali'i Parker, Returning to Our Roots Program; Kau'i Onekea, Returning to Our Roots Program
Moderators: Sharon Ka'iulani, Returning to Our Roots Program and Kimberlee Kihleng, Humanities Guåhan

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Offsite Session - Speaking to Water and Creating Community through the Visual Humanities ** WAITLIST
9:00 AM-11:30 AM
St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Chuch, Honolulu
Join Humanities Guåhan offsite for a special film and discussion event featuring highlights from the Kuentusi I Hanom (Speaking to Water) collection: a series of short films on traditional Pacific seafaring, fishing and farming practices, cultural sites, and indigenous art forms, and a panel of indigenous cultural experts. Key questions surrounding “roots” and “routes” will be discussed in an open session for both conference participants and residents of Hawai‘i from the Pacific diaspora and beyond. These questions, along with those related to globalization, immigration, diversity, identity, cultural revitalization, and connection to natural resources, affect the entire country and this session will encourage participants to reflect on these topics both in the Pacific and in their home states and territories.

Panelists: Elfrieda Koshiba, Humanities Guåhan; Nedine Songeni, Humanities Guåhan; Craig Santos-Perez, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, Marianas Water Works
Moderators: Bernice Santiago, Humanities Guåhan

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What is Micronesia?
2:15 PM-3:10 PM
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa 3
In this discussion, participants will examine contemporary Micronesian experiences and connect them with the broader Pacific by engaging in three main themes: 1) Origins, 2) Identity, and 3) Resistance. This discussion moves beyond the conventional understanding of Micronesia as a geographic description and instead focuses on the multiple and overlapping meanings ascribed to this place by Pacific Islanders throughout Oceania.
Panelists: Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng, Humanities Guåhan; Dr. Mary Therese Hattori, Chaminade University of Honolulu; Elfreida Koshiba, Humanities Guåhan
Moderator: Isa Arriola, CNMI Humanities Council