Josie graduated from Xavier High School in Micronesia and attended the Community College of Micronesia. She later transferred to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo studying Biology, Anthropology, and Pacific Island Studies in 1989 making her one of the first Micronesians migrating under the Compact of Free Association Treaty. At the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Josie Howard’s roles included student peer counselor, president of the International Students Association, student researcher at the Minority Biomedical Research Program, resident assistant at the student housing, president of the Chuukese Students Association, as well as chairperson for the Campus Ministry. Josie has over 10 years of servicing the community, with 8 years in the Department of Health Waiver program, 5 years in the Department of Education, and 5 years in program development, implementation, and piloting a one stop center model. Josie’s community involvement includes being the founder of the Young Voyagers, a youth club in Media with ‘Ōlelo, and co-founder of the Micronesian Health Advisory Council, and Micronesian Cultural Awareness Project. Josie earned her Master in Social Work and is now working as a Coordinator/Facilitator at EPIC ‘Ohana Inc. and as a Social Worker at the St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church. Josie is most recognized for her contribution to the “Micronesian Voices in Hawaii Conference” where she participated as one of six steering committee members who worked with Micronesian Government leaders, community leaders, as well as Conference sponsors. She is also known for her work at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Inc.’s “Imi Loa Program” where she worked with families and their adult children providing direct services as well as managing the programmatic and fiscal operation. She successfully managed and grew the program from a one hundred eighty thousand dollars grant to a one million dollar grant after four years in operation. Mrs. Howard is a native of Onoun Island in Micronesia and she speaks Chuukese, Onounese, and English fluently.
Jojo lived and studied in Hawai‘i for five years in the 1990s. After earning a double Master degree he returned home to Micronesia and worked at the College of Micronesia–FSM at the Chuuk Campus for 15 years before returning to Hawai‘i in 2011. He is currently working on a doctorate degree in the Special Education at the University of Hawai‘i focusing on immigrant families of children with special needs in Hawai‘i. He is a certified assister for the Hawai‘i Health Connector. With fellow community advocates, he co-founded COFA Community & Advocacy Network (COFA-CAN), a community advocacy network that provides awareness and support for crucial legislative and legal initiatives that affects the lives of the Freely Associated States (FAS) citizens living in Hawai‘i and the United States. Mr. Peter is a native of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesian (FSM) and speaks Chuukese and English fluently.
Keola Kim Diaz is from the Republic of Palau. He has a BA in Communications and an MA in Pacific Islands Studies, both from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is an advocate of social and civil rights for migrants, particularly those from the Pacific living in the United States. Keola is interested in the transformative power of the media, particularly visual media, and utilizes different forms of media to address issues that affect the Pacific region, including Micronesians’ social issues in Hawaii.
Vid is a Chuukese educational consultant, social entrepreneur, and web designer. He is currently the Director of the Pacific Islander Student Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Previously, he worked for over 10 years at Santa Clara University as Assistant Director for International Programs, Associate Director for the Center for Multicultural Learning, and International Student Resources Advisor. He also worked for a number of years at Xavier High School in Micronesia as a teacher and administrator. He brings to the team some social entrepreneurial experience as Principal of Raatior Ventures (www.raatior.com) providing educational consulting, social enterprises, web design, and other cultural and social engagements in the Micronesian diaspora. Vid is a doctoral student in the College of Education at University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. He recently served on a consultancy team focusing on a feasibility study to establish a Micronesian-focused charter school in Hawaii sponsored by WAO, The Learning Coalition (TLC), Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), and Micronesians United – Big Island (MU-BI).
We are currently forming an Advisory Council comprising key leaders in the Micronesian community and our partners in Hawaii.
The WAO Team is mentored by Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity serving disadvantaged Native Hawaiian communities throughout the State. PIDF will mentor the team and key stakeholders in the Micronesian community to develop a viable 501(c)(3) dedicated to the development, implementation, and management of initiatives aimed at addressing various Micronesian community needs. About PIDF>>