Keliʻi Akina, Ph.D.,is a leader who is transforming Hawaii's economy, government and society. He is known for the phrase he has coined, "E Hana Kākou" - Let's work together! Over the past several years as a public policy adviser at the legislative, congressional and international levels, Dr. Akina has become a leading defender of the Aloha Spirit. His mission is to preserve the Aloha Spirit by which native Hawaiians and people of all races are welcomed and encouraged to work together for a better future for all our keiki. As a native Hawaiian and skilled chanter, Keliʻi has dedicated his life to the education and financial advancement of both native Hawaiians and all people in the islands, starting in the 1980's as the director of Youth for Christ on the Waianae and Nanakuli coast. His plans for Hawaii's economy and future are based upon the conviction that the only way to raise the water level of one boat is to raise the water level of all boats. This conviction drives Keliʻi to create solutions to Hawaii's problems that benefit everyone, now and into the future. A recent victory for the Aloha Spirit is Dr. Akina's legal case, "Akina v. the State of Hawaii, OHA, Na'i Aupuni, et al" in which the United States Supreme Court stopped the State of Hawaii from conducting a racially discriminatory election. Keliʻi believes that "It's time to reform OHA" so that it becomes a driving force in preserving the Aloha Spirit and advancing native Hawaiians and all people through housing, education, healthcare, and economic prosperity.
Dr. Akina is a community leader, public policy adviser and university educator in Hawaii. He is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Northwestern University (B.A.) and the University of Hawaii (M.A. and Ph.D.) and a member of the Pacific Century Fellows (an offshoot of the White House Fellows program). Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy research institution dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government. An expert in East-West philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has lectured at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University. Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off in which he garnered 93,000 votes. Akina is actively involved in the community and has sat on boards such as the Aloha Heritage Center in Maui, Youth for Christ (President/CEO Emeritus), and the Center for Tomorrow's Leaders (Founder and Past President). He is also the host of E Hana Kākou, a weekly public affairs television program on ThinkTech Hawaii and the host of the radio show Grassroot Institute with Keliʻi Akina every Monday at 7:00 AM on KAOI/1110 AM (Maui).
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