First Okinawan studies endowment fund created at UH ManoaUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
The Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Association (WUB) was established in 1997 in Hawaiʻi. WUB is a network of Uchinanchu and Uchinanchu-at-heart who are part of business and professional communities worldwide. The Uchinanchu have always relied on networking to move forward in their communities. WUB takes this time-honored Okinawan moai practice to the next level — a worldwide Uchinanchu business community.
"Whenever the Okinawan community identifies a special need, it has repeatedly responded with financial support and generosity of spirit," said Lloyd Arakaki, president, WUB. "It is this combination which leverages the initiative of a relatively small group to accomplish goals often out of proportion to its resources," Arakaki continued. "It is also an attitude which exemplifies the best of our community, the willingness to take on larger goals, with dogged persistence and always with an eye towards a better future. We hope that the establishment of the WUB Endowment Fund is just the first such step forward."
The Center for Okinawan Studies (COS) was established at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on July 1, 2008. It is the first center of its kind outside Japan. Its mission is to promote a deeper understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Ryukyus and Okinawa by supporting studies about the history, culture, environment, societies and diaspora of the Okinawan/Ryukyuan peoples. In 1900, the first group of 26 immigrants from Okinawa arrived at the sugar plantations of Hawaiʻi. By 1907, more than 10,000 Okinawans had settled in such distant places as Mexico, the Philippines, New Caledonia and Peru. By 1930, more than 54,000 had left Okinawa with over half of them settling in South America. Today the worldwide overseas Uchinanchu community has grown to over 300,000 people.
"The Center for Okinawan Studies is the only one of its kind in the western world," said Ned Shultz, interim dean, School of Pacific and Asian Studies. "Through its many endeavors we hope to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Okinawa, its culture, and its links to Hawaiʻi," Shultz continued. "This gift starts the building of an endowment that ultimately will enhance the center‘s ability to fulfill its mission to the University and the community, and leverage additional private support."
The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. Our mission is to unite our donors‘ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaiʻi and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. Please visit www.uhf.hawaii.edu.