Inaugural conference on multiethnic families investigates this emerging area of research

Internationally recognized developmental psychologist Emmy Werner to present public lecture

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Sylvia Yuen, (808) 956-5303
Center on the Family
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Feb 10, 2006

HONOLULU — The growing proportion of individuals and families of multiple ethnic and racial heritages is the focus of an inaugural conference, "Multiethnic Families: Development, Identity, and Wellbeing," presented by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Center on the Family, February 21-23, at the East-West Center. The aim of the conference is to draw attention to the issues surrounding multiethnic families and to encourage researchers in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere to conduct studies in this largely unexplored area.

The multiethnic orientation to understanding the family unit will be explored at this three-day event through an interactive and interdisciplinary format. Conference participants are expected from across the country to discuss family formation and family lifecycles, multiethnic socialization, resilience, research methods, and other subjects.

Highlights of the conference include an opening day series of keynote speakers that features internationally recognized human development professor Dr. Emmy Werner of the University of California at Davis. Werner‘s keynote speech, "Risk and Resilience: Lessons from the Lives of Children from Multiethnic Families," is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 21, at the East-West Center. It is free and open to the public.

Regarded as the "mother of resiliency" and long revered by child development experts, Werner led one of the most ambitious and well known longitudinal studies when she and colleague Ruth Smith followed a cohort of more than 500 children on Kauaʻi from 1955 to 1995. With one-third of the children able to overcome multiple risk factors and develop into competent young adults, the study helped to promote the understanding and development of resiliency—the ability to overcome risk and adversity and to achieve positive outcomes in one‘s life.

Also scheduled to speak is Dr. Maria Root, a clinical psychologist and independent scholar from Seattle, Wash., who focuses her work on the topic of race relations and the increasing number of multiracial people who are identifying as biracial, mixed or multiracial. One of the leading authorities in the field of racial and ethnic identity, she published the first contemporary volume on mixed race people, "Racially Mixed People in America." Including this book, Root has edited two award-winning books on multiracial people and produced the foundational Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People. The U.S. Census referred to these texts in their deliberations that resulted in an historic ʻcheck more than one‘ format to the race question for the 2000 census.

For more information about the conference and the public sessions, call 956-8240 or visit .

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