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National Research Council (US) Committee on Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practice in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives. Building Hawaii's Innovation Economy: Summary of a Symposium. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2012.

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Building Hawaii's Innovation Economy: Summary of a Symposium.

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Opening Remarks

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United States Senate

Senator Akaka said that he had listened to the speakers “with much excitement because of what this symposium means to Hawaii and our great country.” He thanked President Greenwood for her invitation and gracious introduction, and expressed his gratitude to the many that had traveled from near and far to attend the conference. “I extend my heartfelt aloha. You are part of a critical effort to foster innovation and growth here in our island state.”

He said that he hoped the symposium would help “set a course to make Hawaii a global leader in technology and in pioneering discoveries.” He said that Hawaii was unique and had much to offer the world. Its remote location makes it one of the best places in the world to study astronomy; it has a wide array of unique endemic plant and animal species; and it has one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting continually for the past 28 years. Its rich cultural heritage was also unique to the state, he said, with “new discoveries going hand in hand with traditional learning. This way of life makes us unique and gives us an advantage as we compete in a global marketplace.”

He commented on the motto of the symposium, E Kamakani Noii, The wind that seeks knowledge, which he called “a poetic demonstration of the great potential before all of us today.” He added that part of the definition of E Kamakani Noii is “searching for even the smallest detail.” He spoke of the wind, makani, as a powerful force in traditional storytelling and in daily life in Hawaii. “And so, to all of you I say: Whooo, whoo, Kamakani, let the winds blow toward a sustainable future.”

He said that Hawaii was developing pioneering research initiatives, from astronomy to clean energy to sustainable agriculture. “Hawaii is a special lab for these areas of knowledge,” he said. “I am proud of the many things our talented educators, researchers, and students have accomplished here. These advancements improve our way of life, stimulate our economy, and work toward environmental sustainability.”

He said that innovations in research methods and practices help to preserve limited island resources and teach people to be better stewards. “Stewardship is a matter of cultural heritage and practicability,” he said. “You all know the importance of maintaining a balanced relationship with nature and the necessity of caring for the land and ocean.” He further called on his fellow citizens of Hawaii to ensure bountiful natural resources for generations to come.

“We all envision a better and brighter Hawaii for akaki, our children,” he said. “And the conversations taking place through this symposium will pave the way for that to happen.” He said that the symposium was “a great way to start the year 2011,” and he applauded participants for their leadership, dedication to education, and to the revitalization of the economy.

Copyright © 2012, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK99286

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